Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Beatrice (The Little Something I Kept Over the Years)

Beatrice Newkirk - 12 kids: 7 boys, 5 girls. 57 grands. 27 great grands, 2 greats on the way.
Note to self: when I am old, I will be sassy like Beatrice.

Beatrice and Bernice, her twin sister, have been a part of this class since its beginnings – they have truly become two of my best friends. Bernice brings out the tomboy in me; and I tell myself that when I am old, one thing I will be is sassy like Beatrice. Beatrice reminds me a lot of my grandma too - because of the sassiness they share, I've always thought. But when Beatrice told us this story last week, I realize there is one more thing in common to the women whom I admire so much. The ones who carry the brightest smiles are the ones who have risen above the deepest pains.

Beatrice Newkirk
The Little Something I Kept Over the Years

The something I kept over the years is a picture of my mother. She did not raise me. My mother left home when I was 5.

She left 7 boys and 3 girls. My baby brother was 1 and my oldest brother was 12.

I found my mother on Market St. My brothers found her first. There were so many things I wanted to know about her, so many questions I wanted to ask her. I was married and I had my first kids. I took her home with me. She left. Back on the streets.

The next time I saw her she was in Byberry - it's a mental hospital. She stayed there 17 years. That is where she died. I never got one word out of her during that time. All I wanted her to say was my name. I was named after her. I don't even know her birthday.

So I have the picture of her I carry  with me every day.

This is what one of our copyeditors wrote after typing up this story. Jesse lives in North Carolina.
Wow, absolutely heartbreaking. After reading this I want to give Beatrice a great big hug. - Jesse Antoszyk
Jesse: I will be sure to tell Beatrice you wrote that, and I would be happy to give her a hug for you ;)