Monday, September 23, 2013

How Will You Be Remembered?

How Will You Be Remembered?

Last week, I had the opportunity to hear Vice President Joe Biden speak. He was here in Savannah at the Port in connection with the deepening of the harbor and expansion of the infrastructure.

His speech was rousing and insightful and I marveled at his ability to connect the work of people in Savannah to its importance for the world.

After his speech, he stepped down into the invitation only crowd to take pictures and say hello.

I decided to let him know that Delaware was there.

He turned towards me and I thanked him and told him I was from Delaware and he asked where. I told him Wilmington, and again he wanted to know where. I choked a bit and got up the nerve to tell him that I was from Gordon Street.

Gordon Street was more of an alley than a street. It had two houses, rows of lime green storage garages and a notorious motorcycle gang.

When I said Gordon Street, Vice President Biden blinked and squinted his eyes as if trying to remember something. I figured that he was not familiar with the street and so I explained that it was between 22nd and 23rd streets just off of Market.

He smiled and said, “I know exactly where that is, I was a life guard at Prices’ Run pool and I was the only white kid there.” I laughed and told him that we thought of him as the marshmallow in the chocolate.”

I knew that he had no way of knowing that I learned to swim at that pool when I was thrown in the deep end, but I wondered if he knew that Prices’ run pool was named by the community that lived there.
We all grew up hearing stories that the park was the place where a man named Mr. Price had run from a lynching mob. The area of the pool was where Mr. Price had been killed.

I didn’t say any of this to the Vice President. Instead, I told him about another old person who was gone but not forgotten.
 I told the Vice President of the United States of America that my mother was looking out for him from heaven. He asked me her name and I smiled and said Beatrice Berry.

 His face actually lit up as he proclaimed “Ms. B, I know her. She was an amazing woman.”

People in the crowd were transfixed as he recalled my mother. They wanted to know me, because of who she was.

My mom worked hard every day. She never made much money. She raised 7 children on her own, volunteered to help other seniors and did her best to make a difference.

When she died, she left no money or property, but the mention of her name made the Vice President of The United States smile brightly.

How will you be remembered?

Tomorrow and the rest of this week, I will share with you the legacy of dear friends and loved ones who have left a legacy.

Mom, take care of Fritzi.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

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