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         It happened months ago and I still hadn't cried. I mean, I still hadn't cried about it specifically. Maybe once or twice after a night of drinking but I don't think that counts. My Mom was the kind of woman that, if you didn't know her, you'd think her rude. You'd think she was one of those mean old ladies. She wasn't, though. She was selfless and funny. My Mother carried herself like Kathy Bates in Misery, but really, those of us who knew her, knew she was more like Kathy Bates in Titanic. The unsinkable Molly Brown. A woman that spoke her mind and cared more for other people than she ever would for herself. I think that's why she lasted so long, being so sick. I think she was living for me.
         I don't know everything about my Mother's life, in fact, I know very little. The things I do know make me believe she was a superhero. I suppose every kid thinks that of their mother. In my case, however, I'm pretty sure it was true.
         My Mom, Joan Francis LeRoy, was born March 13, 1942 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. She was one of nine children being brought up by an Irish mother and French and Native American father. Her father passed away when she was 4 or 5 from Epilepsy. Her Mother brought them up with the help of Johnny Walker and Jim Beam. You could tell just by looking at them they were a poor family. My Mom, being the second youngest, was closest with her youngest sister, Alice.They were tiny little girls, both standing about 5 foot 1 and weighing under 100 pounds. Alice would get picked on in their catholic school for her dirty clothes, messy hair, and lack of money. Joanie would always stick up for her, yelling back and even beating up her sister's tormentors. She was small but she was tough. Even if she knew she would lose a fight she wouldn't back down, not when it came to Alice. Not when it came to the people she truly loved.

         Around 1954 Joanie and Alice were sent to live with a foster family. It was one of the only times in her childhood that she would be happy. I remember her telling me they would pull taffy. I would just imagine, in black and white of course, 2 preteens with this beautiful couple sitting around a kitchen taking turns pulling taffy. Their fake mother and father smiling and hugging them, making them feel loved like they should have been. It made me happy to hear these stories. To hear of my Mom being happy at least for a little while, one time in her life. But living with this family didn't last long. The sisters were moved from foster family, to foster homes, and back again at least 3 times a year. Never feeling settled and never again finding that childhood happiness.
       During her 8th year in school Joanie decided she would drop out, which wasn't uncommon for kids to do back then. So she left school and had to figure out how she would support herself her whole life. A few years later she met her support. The man that would turn out to be her husband, Paul "Gummy" Copell. Gummy was a cool looking kid. He stood tall, smoking his cigarettes and looking tough. She and Gummy were married at the age of 18 and by 19 she already had her first child. A girl they would name Theresa.  The couple seemed happy, living modestly in Boston. By the age of 25 they had 3 children. A boy, Kevin and another girl, Mary. Maybe it was after all the kids that Gummy started hitting my Mother. I don't know exactly when it was but I knew it would last 17 years. Wearing too much lipstick was cause for a slap, as was dresses that were too short or shirts showing too much skin. My Mom was attractive and a lot of her husband's friends would flirt with her, another cause for a beating.
        One man in particular had a strong liking for her. His name was Stevie Flemming. If you don't know who this man is you may know his friend and boss, Whitey Bulger. Stevie and his girlfriend would hang around with my mother and Gummy quite a bit. The men would have their drinks, the women their cigarettes and they would play cards and chat on weekend nights while the kids slept. Gummy noticed his friend's crush on his wife and would take it out on her fairly often. One night after a few drinks Gummy had the liquid courage to say something to Stevie about all of this. The mobster didn't quite appreciate the insinuation, especially in front of his girlfriend, and there was a small scuffle. My Mother ended up throwing Stevie and his girlfriend out. Unfortunately, the situation didn't end there. A few nights later while Joanie and her kids were asleep a fire broke out, burning down everything they had. They were left homeless, with nothing. The police found no evidence of arson though, everyone knew how and why that fire started.
My Mom past away last August 26th. She had always wanted to write a book about her life. She never got the chance. So I will be writing chapters of her life out to, hopefully, later be brought all together in book form. She was amazing, she deserves this. Her story deserves to be told.

I'm sure the grammar is a bit off in places, which will all be fixed after I have written everything I know down. I just want you all to enjoy the stories about the amazing life of an amazing woman.

<3
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:iconbeyondjen:
BeyondJen Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Ahem...wriiiiite this! 
Seriously. It's a really good story and you are really good with your story telling. Start writing bits and pieces of it again. Okay? Okay. :heart:

Also, I have questions. Something to talk about?
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:iconbeyondjen:
BeyondJen Featured By Owner May 2, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Write this. :heart:
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:iconcaybeach:
caybeach Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
This is wonderful :heart:
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:iconflermigan:
Flermigan Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2010
Thank you very much. It really means so much. :heart:
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:iconcaybeach:
caybeach Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
It's my pleasure:heart:
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:iconthesekrimzonflames:
TheseKrimzonFlames Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2010  Professional Writer
I'm proud of you, and I know she is too. :hug: :heart:
Reply
:iconflermigan:
Flermigan Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2010
:heart: :hug:
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:iconinpenguin:
inpenguin Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
I am really glad I know you. This is wonderful.
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:iconflermigan:
Flermigan Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2010
That is a wonderful compliment. Thank you, love. :heart:
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:iconelfkyn-lynn:
Elfkyn-lynn Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
:heart:
I am definitely sticking around for the rest of this ^^
It is an intriguing story bu I can't exactly place my finger on /why/.
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:iconflermigan:
Flermigan Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2010
Thanks so much :heart:
Reply
:iconelfkyn-lynn:
Elfkyn-lynn Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
You are most welcome.
Reply
:iconanoddchild:
anoddchild Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2010  Student General Artist
This is....so very intimate, Bebe. Thank you. *huggle*
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:iconflermigan:
Flermigan Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2010
Thank you :heart:
Reply
:iconmetallophilic:
Metallophilic Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2010
This is a facinating read!
I recall, the first thing I read by you was a poem you dedicated to your mother. It's really great to read more about the whirlwind life of a strong woman!

Looking forward to more :heart:
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:iconflermigan:
Flermigan Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2010
Thank you so much :heart:
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:iconmetallophilic:
Metallophilic Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2010
you're very welcome, and we'll miss your beautiful writing :(
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