Ninety-one years young, Beryl still talks proudly of the little guy with asthma who used to shoot baskets in the goal above the garage.
Still dares you to come to their hometown and find someone to say something bad about her only child. "He was such a good young man," Beryl said. "He was wonderful. Never any trouble at all."
It's mutual admiration. The son still calls his mom "a great gal."
Beryl still drives. Steers her '98 Buick LeSabre to the Christian Church every Sunday, and 27 miles to Dodge City when she needs the perks of a little bigger town, and two or three times a week to the community center for pot-luck lunches, where everyone's invited but mostly only old folks show up.
She's been out in western Kansas most of these 91 years. Born in Mullinville, Beryl grew up in nearby Joy, a map dot with a grain elevator, which her father ran.
Beryl played basketball at Mullinville High and eventually married Orville, a man who could do anything. He was a plumber, an electrician, a carpenter, a mechanic, a farmer.
Beryl's son was born in Dodge City, and during World War II they moved all over Kansas, to Winfield and Wellington and Wichita and Salina and Leavenworth, as Orville worked for a construction company, building military bases.
Then it was back to Dodge, where Beryl opened her heart a little more. Her sister, Cleo, was first divorced and then had died, and Cleo's daughter, Norma, needed a home. Norma's little cousin, 10 years younger, grew up to call her Sissy, and to this day, Norma Metz is like a daughter to Beryl.
"I would have been one of those displaced children, probably," Norma said. "I'm very thankful for what I've had."
Norma still remembers the beautiful clothes her aunt Beryl made her, still remembers the love she found in that Kansas home so many years ago.
Continue reading this story on the...