We Will Never "Bea" Apart Again
Part 5 of the Judy Tomaini Rock Series
Weeks was a headliner. She had a very good act and the masses
flocked to see her. They mostly signed on to store front museum
shows, Huber's Museum for one. Like the flea markets of today.
They take an empty supermarket or a closed Wal-Mart type building
and have an indoor Sideshow. There were many back then and they
were much easier to work than a tent show. They could even work in
the winter months since the buildings were out of the elements.
The rain, snow and cold were easier tolerated. The dime museums
were popping up all over the north.
And a lot of the tent shows were deserted, for the comfort zones
of the store fronts. The acts in the store front windows, were the
come-on to the shows inside. Like the ballys on the tent shows.
The teaser, to "more to come on the inside".
The work was hard, 15 or 20 shows a day maybe even more. Long
hours, but the pay was good. This is where Lizzie Weeks took
Jeanie. She was only allowed to perform and not allowed to speak
to anyone. As Lizzie was always on the lookout for someone who
might come and steal her charge. Then the big easy money would be
Jeanie was not treated badly, just not very good. She had food, a
roof over her head, and mental torture, every day of her life. No
matter what she did she was reminded how much Lizzie had done for
her, nice costumes, fame and the like. Her home life consisted of
staying in her room and going to work. Jeanie had thought many
times that death was the only way out for her. But being the
spiritual person she was she had God on the other hand reminding
her it would not be a peaceful death as taking your own life was
as bad as taking someone else's life.
If only she could see her brother Donald. They had been the
closest of any of the kids. Donald always looked after her. Where
was he now when she really needed him the most. She wasn't aware
that the dozens of letters she had written were never sent. The
people at the orphanage had no record of who adopted her, the
judge saw to that.
The brothers searched for a long time for her but always came up
empty. It was like she vanished. They looked for Bea Smith, they
didn't even have any idea that her name had been changed. That
was one of the reasons they never found her, they had been so
close at times.
As Lizzie had made sure she never played a town close to Ft.
Wayne. Who would ever thought her name would have ever been
Lizzie, had so many ways to torture Jeanie. When Jeanie prayed
for guidance she received it. She would play a game in her head
so she wouldn't go insane. She was not allowed to go out to a
restaurant to eat as Lizzie told her no one would be able to eat
around someone deformed as she was it would sicken them. The real
reason was that she didn't want anyone looking at her for free.
So when it was time to eat Lizzie would get takeout food, yes they
had takeout then too. Jeanie discovered if she ordered tea she
would get coffee if she ordered milk which she hated, she would
get juice. So the game had begun. Jeanie never did care for
mashed potatoes and would gag at the sight of beet juice running
into them. When Lizzie saw this she made sure that they put beet
juice on the mashed potatoes daily.
So Jeanie would read anything, she could get her hands on to read
but mostly it was the Bible. She spent her time in this hell
prison reading the Bible and praying for her brother Donald to
find her. He was also searching for her on every show that came to
town. She was in New York, Ohio and any of the other states
around Indiana. Donald was getting older and started to drive so
he could search farther away, which he did. He had an old photo
of her which he carried with him every where he went. Then one
day when talking to people on a tent show, they said they knew
someone just like Bea, but her name was Jeanie Weeks. They also
told Donald where she had been and what area to look in for her.
He was so excited, he had finally gotten real close to finding her
and had something to go on.
Donald still lived with the people on the farm that had adopted
him. They were wonderful to him. The work was hard but he didn't
mind, as they were the parents that he grew to love and they loved
him. He even kept in close contact with them and their other
children when he was a parent and grandparent.
The winter was deathly cold with ice, rain and snow. It was the
weather that makes for the worst blizzards. Lizzie had company
coming and was so worried about someone stealing Jeanie she tucked
her into bed that night. She decided she better sleep outside the
door to Jeanie's room. Who knows, they may try to steal her and
then they would have her cash cow. Well, that wouldn't work so
she made sure the window to her room was closed tight and being on
the 2nd floor there was no way they could get to her. Jeanie was
tiny at the time just a pretty little teenager and the guys loved
Totally innocent and such a sweet spirit. She would have been
dead long ago had she not played this silly game with Lizzie in
her head. She knew that Lizzie would be sleeping out side of the
door. So it was time to get even for some of the pain that she
had suffered over the mental torture that Lizzie had put her
though. There was a dresser in the corner of the room and the
high old fashioned base boards. Which gave Jeanie an idea of how
to get even without causing physical harm to anyone. When she was
little, she would play hide and seek with her brothers by getting
under the dresser and lifting herself up on the corner base
boards. That way when they would come close to look under the
dresser they couldn't see her. So she planned it out in her head,
she would open the window and let the room get really cold. Then
she would hide behind the dresser like she had done at her home so
many years before when she was young.
It took a while to get the room cold enough for the cold air to
seep out from under the door and awaken Lizzie. As soon as she
felt the draft she started screaming and ran in the room. All she
could see was an open window and an empty bed. She looked under
the dresser and the bed, nothing... Jeanie had been stolen, by
her visiting relatives. She ran screaming down the stairs. Her
meal ticket had been stolen away in the night. Jeanie decided she
would hurry and get back in bed and pretend to be asleep. So when
Lizzie's husband, who was a real nice easy going guy, went in to
look again he would find her sleeping in the bed. That chalks up
one for Jeanie....
When the winter chill was turning into the fresh breath of spring
air. It was time to hit the road again. At this time they had
booked on a tent show which would be playing around the old
homestead in Indiana. By now the family had surely given up on
ever finding Bea Smith. She was known far and wide as Jeanie
Weeks. She had her hair different, and her costumes were also
were different. But in her heart she was still and always would
be Bea Smith. The first place the show set up was in Fort Wayne,
Bea Smith's home town. That is where Donald finally found her.
After the many years of separation
Donald never failed to go to every sideshow that came to town and
look for her. The first show of the day Jeanie spotted him as
soon as he walked into the tent. He walked over to her stage,
ruffled her hair and said "Hi Sis, where have you been???" like
she had just been gone for a day or two. She asked him why he
never wrote to her, not even once, since they had been separated.
They had a lot of catching up to do.
The bond that they had formed as small children is what held them
together. They made a pact that they would never be torn away
from each other again. Even when Donald was dying of Alzheimer's
disease he remembered her and ruffled her hair, but never said a
© 2003 Judy Tomaini Rock, All Rights
Published with the permission of Judy
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