Queen For A Day


Bertha Baker Baldwin died after 94 years of living a fairly ordinary life, but on the day they buried her, she was a queen.

The things they said about her were astounding. She received a standing ovation as her casket preceded the group of mourners to the burial site.

She never learned to drive, so she walked everywhere and kept most of her strength for the full 94 years. Everyone knew Bertha and when she would pass by them on her walks, lots of hellos were said and lots of hand waving flew in the air.

She had 11 children. Four mentally challenged, one death and the rest relatively normal. Her 9 grandchildren hardly knew her, and the youngest two did not have the opportunity to meet her. She worked in a factory making airliner parts and rarely missed a day. She was the family cook and everyone seemed to just wait to eat until she got around to making something. She was soft-spoken, sweet, kind, a regular wife, mother and grandmother. She did not stand out in a group, she was modest, never wore make-up, hardly combed her hair, and she dressed from clothes that had graced her closet for many years, plus she kept herself clean as a whistle at all times. She was honest and trustworthy. She possessed characteristics that do not make you a queen but make you a good woman.

On the day of Bertha’s funeral, and as the first hymn was played, she began in the minds of the living participants to become raised up. The praise began with her relatives, friends, church members, neighbors, and many from the community at large.

Bertha was hailed as a woman of great character. When someone was ill, she would put her famous pot of Sunshine Soup on his or her doorstep. They were quickly cured. When someone needed help at home, Bertha was there. It was told that she was a master fixit person. There is nothing she could not make-work again. She would sing hymns as she walked to her destinations. The children would follow her and learn her songs. She fed popcorn to barking dogs. She volunteered at the retirement home singing hymns and passing out her homemade chocolate chip, oatmeal, honey flavored cookies with no nuts. She left the retirement home, singing her hymns all the way to the village center. Once there she sat down under the walnut tree and began to read stories to apparently no one. As if by magic, soon children were sitting spellbound at her feet laughing, singing, clapping and smiling great big wide smiles.

Reverend Hollister was telling the story of Bertha, when a storm hit the village center and inched along to encompass the little church that held the body of, the family of, the friends of and the admirers of Bertha Baker Baldwin. The storm raged through the kind stories, phenomenal stories, incredible stories, astonishing and unforgettable stories of Bertha. Everyone sat spellbound, and it was like a supernatural, enchanted moment when everyone blinked in unison.

In the mystical moment when they all blinked, a crown was placed on the head of our dearly departed and most deserving, Bertha. God Bless Queen Bertha!



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nuala Ryan
    Feb 12, 2015 @ 19:38:21

    Berthe leaves me speechless —— a mystical moment!!!!!

    Thank you,


  2. Sheila Clapkin
    Feb 13, 2015 @ 15:28:39

    A coming together of sorts. Thank you so very much for reading. Love and good health.


  3. Gary Friedman
    Feb 14, 2015 @ 19:29:21

    This is a wonderful tribute. How do you know her? When you can touch so many people in so many important ways, nothing about your life can be said to be ordinary.


  4. Sheila Clapkin
    Feb 14, 2015 @ 23:04:36

    I will not use the word ordinary again.
    I will not see ordinary either. Good catch.
    Right on the mark. This lovely lady is a great grandmother
    of a student from so many years ago. Mom sent
    me news of her passing and reviewed her life with me.
    Sent me the photo and gave me permission to publish
    this piece.
    Thank you.


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