My Grandmother Carrie (GC) raised 60 children in her lifetime, and in the summer of 1981, three girls named Jessica (5), Melanie “Moni” (3) and Sara (1) came to live with Carrie in small-time Kiester, Minnesota. This happened after an accidental kitchen fire Jessica started from frying bacon; she was taking care of Sara and Moni after being abandoned by their parents. Social workers concluded that they had been living on their own for days.
My grandmother treated every child as her own, so she refused to break them up. She fostered them for years, until the Reese family adopted them. They all became successful, educated, fantastic moms and great wives. In 2019, Jessica was gunned down and killed outside her workplace, on the sidewalk, by a career criminal planning to rob a bank. Recently out of prison, Jessica’s killer had four prior gun-related crimes; this deemed a random act. He pleaded guilty and returned to prison.
She was a celebrity in our family; we’d never lost touch. Jessica, always the caretaker, had residents of her small town in Iowa mourning. Memories of her smile keep us smiling, and knowing that, without a doubt, GC welcomed her to the beyond keeps us going.