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Beverly Jackson

Beverly Jackson

African American Foster Parent & Mentor

Heritage: African American

Make the right choices. I think that is the most important thing in life. It’s either a good choice or a bad choice. Either way will make us happy or not happy.

Beverly Jackson

African American Foster Parent & Mentor

My name is Beverly Jackson. I was born June 21, 1928. I’m the youngest of ten.

I have four brothers and five sisters. The majority of my life was spent in the hospital or convalescent home. A convalescent home is a place where you go when you are recuperating from an illness. I was born with a heart condition; had to make sure I didn’t over-exert myself. I wasn’t able to play. A lot of the time I had pain in my joints and bones. When I started having pain, I would go to the convalescent home to be just in a bed. I got to read books but there was no TV. I would have visitors that would come.

I loved to walk. My sister and Mary Jane would walk to the capitol and lie on the grass and look up at the sky and would daydream; wish upon things we would like to have. My sisters taught me how to play jacks. Those were the two main things. Sometimes we would catch a bus and would just ride. We didn’t have a lot of money. It wasn’t like being able to hop in the car and go on the bus and shop at the mall. A lot of the things we did were free things. We jumped rope a lot and did roller-skating. Because of my illness, I would have to tone it down. I could do it for a little while and would have to stop.

Making the right choices is the most important thing in life—listening to someone and paying attention—when mom asks you to do something you have a choice. You can either do what mom says or not do what mom says. You make choices every day at school. You choose to pay attention and choose to be a friend. It’s either a good choice or a bad choice. If you have a bad habit—making a bad choice—you are not happy. We all have choices to make. Either way will make us happy or not happy.

In 1992 my husband and I moved up here to Minneapolis, Minnesota to take care of our two granddaughters. We started doing foster care and loved it so much we adopted three children. While doing foster care we lost two members of the family: my husband and daughter. Though I was sad, the choice of adoption made us happy.

While doing foster care, I’ve had dozens of kids. Foster kids can stay for up to ten years. I love it because I love kids. I love to sit down and read to them. I love to take them for walks and go outside. I like to look at the ants. I would show them how the ants like to walk around. I tell them, “Don’t step on the ants. Watch those little things. God made them.” They need that one-on-one time and getting close to nature. It’s beautiful.

Notation: Download PDF

Honoring Beverly Jackson

You Are So Very Blessed And Lucky

You are so very blessed and lucky
To have such a beautiful school

I grew up with a heart condition
In a convalescent home
I could not play. I had pain
In my joints and bones
Laying in bed. Reading books
There was no TV
I hated it when my family
Had to get up and leave
With big huge doors for the patients
Who could not get up and walk
They pushed my bed to the patio
To get fresh air and talk
Listening to the wind blow
Through the branches and trees
On those beautiful grounds
Where the birds, would sing so sweetly
When I got well I came home
To the other side of the tracks
To the river bottoms where we lived
With folks brown, red, white, and black
My brothers would fish,
then come home
With carp and buffalo
Skin them down in Des Moines town
And fry them up at home
Mother would make home-made soup
From her garden of vegetables
Carrots, corn, tomatoes,
Onions and potatoes
My father worked as a bicycle
repairman to survive
While I would lie on the grass
And look up into the sky
The man that I was married to
For over thirty years
I met back in high school
Before we moved up here
To do day care and foster care
For children who are in need
To give a hug, to share love
What more does a person need?

Words by LARRY LONG with Mrs. Valme’s 4th grade class at FAIR School
(Crystal, Minnesota)

© Larry Long 2007 / BMI