Beverly Rose Potts disappeared before I was born, but I have always known about her. Her disappearance must have made an impact on my mother, in fact I think it terrified her.
I can no longer even count the times my mother scared the hell out of me by telling me about Beverly Potts.
Beverly disappeared on Friday, August 24, 1951 from Cleveland, Ohio and to date has never been found.
“She was watching the show wagon,” said my mother, “Back then the wagon would go from park to park and entertain people with all sorts of performers.”
This particular night, the show wagon was at Halloran Park, only a couple of blocks from where my grandmother lived.
She went to the show with a friend and a neighbor. When her friend had to be home by dark, Beverly decided she would stay for the whole show.
When Beverly had not returned home by 10 p.m. her family began looking for her and called the police.
It has been stated that over 1500 people had attended the show in the park and yet no one noticed anything out of the ordinary.
The Beverly Potts case was highly publicized and all tips were followed.
“The earth might as well have opened up and swallowed the child. She has vanished into nothing.” -Ben R. Tidyman in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9-4-’51
My cousin and I played a lot at Halloran Park. We had always known the story of Beverly and made sure that we were home by dark.
Even as I got older and became a teen, my mother reminded me of Beverly Potts.
“You better be where you say are going to be, God help you, if I find out any different. Do you want to end up missing like Beverly Potts?”
Whenever, my mother brought up Beverly Potts, I would roll my eyes and accuse her of trying to scare me.
“I’m not trying to scare you,” she would say, “Don’t you know, if anything ever happened to you, they might as well just put me away, because I would lose my mind!”
I didn’t understand the depth of my mother’s fear back then. I was a teen and I’d accuse of her of trying to run my life.
“Roll your eyes at me one time and I am going to knock you right in your head and then they are going to stay that way!” my mother would yell, “Beverly Potts mother cried every single day until she finally died from grief five years later!
My mother would wave her hands in the air. You could see the panic on her face just thinking about it.
“Wait, just wait until you have kids. You think I’m shitting you? Oh dear Mary, Mother of God–(my mother had a way with words) –just put me a straight jacket! Lock me up! If anything happened to you, your sister or your brothers, tell them to just lock me up! I’d lose my mind!”
When I had my own children, the moment I held them in my arms, I knew exactly what she was talking about.
And as my children grew older, I gave myself a false sense of security, reassuring myself that the boogie man only takes children. He only takes Beverly Potts, little girls.
There are over 2400 people reported missing every single day–this includes grown men, women, children and teens. Some of them are found and for others, the years pass and hope fades and I wonder how these mothers and fathers find the courage to go on.
If you’re a parent then chances are you have felt that moment of sheer panic at one time or another, when you lost your child for mere seconds.
My mother said she had lost me twice.
“Once when you were about four years old and playing in the backyard. Somehow you were able to open the gate and I couldn’t find you anywhere. I was running up and down the street screaming. People started to come outside to help and here you were in the next door neighbors house playing with her bird. The second time you got lost walking home from school. Your brother was suppose to walk with you and forgot. You were missing for hours. The police finally found you walking around. I’ll never forget that day. It was one of the most horrible days of my life.”
I don’t remember being lost when I was four years old, but I do remember being lost when I started school and I do remember the look on my mother’s face. She was terrified. She hugged me and kissed me and hugged me some more, then said, “You little shit, I don’t know whether to beat your ass or hug you some more. I just about had a heart attack!”
As a mother, I understand now all that my mother has said to me. Having one of us go missing was one of her biggest fears. She wanted us to be kept safe and never be in harms way.
My heart aches for the families and friends that are searching for their loved ones. I can’t even begin to imagine what they must be going through. Ad I am not sure how to reach the masses and make them aware of how many are missing. The numbers are staggering.
What if, we all picked one missing person to feature on our facebook page a day? With a tool like facebook existing, and the numbers growing, we might find a missing person.
What if we pulled together and reached out to a family that has a loved one missing and asked what we could do to help them?
Why is it, that we always wait to do something when it finally happens to us?
I’ve had people tell me that my insistence about the missing is depressing. I understand that, I do. It can get depressing for me, as well. But what depresses me more is looking into the eyes of family member that is searching for answers or thinking about a missing person that might be alive and is waiting and counting on anyone of us to bring help.
We’re all in this together, so we might as well start looking out for one another. I’ll be there for you. Will you be here for me?
Diana May-Waldman- Bureau Editor for Worldwide Hippies in Rochester NY. Diana is the author of A Woman’s Song. Her poetry in this book deals with the struggles facing all women and the many facets of being a woman in the world today. She is a strong women’s and children’s advocate. A true example of the Hippie movement's continuing growth and sprit.