We are pleased to introduce you to, Elizabeth Ann Reuper. Her nickname and what she likes to be called is, Betsy. Betsy was born in Flushing, Queens New York on May 6th, 1943. Her parents’ names were Henry & Ruth Reuper and she has two siblings; a younger brother, Richard (nicknamed Dick) and an older sister, Doris.
Both of her parents were Math teachers up until her mother had children. After that, her father continued to teach, and her mother stayed at home. Her mother hired a maid, Helen, and she helped with the children and the house chores. Betsy remembers Helen being very kind and said that Helen even made her doll clothes which she has fond memories of.
Betsy described herself as a very quiet child and that she never really asked questions, all she can remember is her crying. She found that it was difficult for her to speak up for herself, so she showed her emotions through tears. Some of her fondest memories growing up though were playing with the other kids on the block, marble games, hop scotch on the sidewalks, roller skating, climbing trees, horseback riding, riding my bike, and traveling as a family. She told us that each year her family would travel during spring vacation to Florida. What Betsy enjoyed the most about these trips were sightseeing on the ride to Florida and she loved staying in different motels along the way. She remembers how great it was to meet new kids by the motel poolside.
In Junior High and Senior High, she played in the school band. She played the piano and clarinet and remembers playing the song “Beautiful Dreamer” on the piano. She did not enjoy the band nor the piano though so after she graduated from high school, she never played again.
She smiles when she thinks about herself driving at sixteen. She remembers learning how to drive and being taught by her patient father and mentioned how she loved driving around in her dad’s 1953 stick shift Mercury. At age Nineteen, she drove her own car and loved just to be able to drive around. She enjoyed taking trips, usually by herself, to Concord, New Hampshire. She really enjoyed being out and about. It made her feel free!
In 1962, after Claremont Secretarial School, she started her career at Grumman Aerospace Corporation where she was a Typist in a typing pool. After two years of employment, she mentioned that her boss asked her to seek help due to her constant tears. A psychologist was appointed to her through her job and she said that he helped her deal with her unresolved problems and she then continued to work for six years at the Corporation.
She then decided to move to Kentucky where she paid rent to her sister, Doris, who taught flute at a college. Down in Kentucky she took a course in Art and said she loved it! She received her first ever A for a grade and said that made her feel so accomplished and remembers the great feeling of doing a good job. She only lived in Kentucky for one year and then her mother made her come back home because she wanted her to find a full-time job. She decided to go back to Grumman’s and get a studio apartment nearby. After three years of that she decided to be done with the Corporation.
Betsy once had a very upsetting spell and told one of her best friends, Beth, that she wanted to commit suicide and at this time it came out that she had been raped. In return, Betsy’s friend told her mother what had happened to her. This is when her mother told her friend not to tell her until she was dead and buried, that at eighteen months of age, my mother left the gate open at the top of the stairs. Unfortunately, Betsy ended up falling down the wooden stairs in her walker and hit her head. Due to this horrible accident it caused a slight brain impairment and a back injury. Beth held it in for a while before she ended up telling Betsy what had happened to her. She recalls being so upset with her mother especially after all the suffering she went through. She never knew what was wrong with herself, she was picked on by her peers and was so hurt, and she ended up crying a lot. She never received good grades like her siblings and always thought she was born stupid.
The next stage in her life was when she got married to Walter. They dated for seven years before they got married. The day after they got married, they ended up moving to Germany! Nine months later, she divorced him because he was involved with Scientology. She then came back to the states and lived in an apartment. Her mother passed away in 1979.
In 1981, she said her illness of Bipolar Disorder came to the surface and she began having delusions and hallucinations constantly. They kept coming and coming and wouldn’t stop. She was in and out of psych wards and turned to hard liquor and would not stop drinking. At this time in her life, she realized that her Bipolar Disorder and drinking alcohol did not mix. It made it significantly worse. So, she sold her house in Concord, NH. She then started my new adventure in Franklin, NH here at the Peabody Home.
Betsy says how Peabody Home helped get her back on track. She was set up with physical therapy, a counselor and quit drinking completely. She found it very peaceful and felt complete here. She mentioned how she loved the staff and could feel how much they care for her. She has a friend named Nancy, who she enjoys visiting at the Peabody Home. She says Nancy and herself enjoy their friendship. She like to invite Nancy here for lunch because the food is homemade and delicious. They laugh and reminisce about old times! Betsey is offered many activities daily at Peabody Home but her favorite one is writing letters to family, friends, volunteers and staff. She also loves to watch her favorite shows on TV and frequently watches the Hallmark Channel. Another favorite activity for Betsy is sitting out on the Patio when the weather is nice and warm. She enjoys looking over at Odell Park, watching the birds (Bald Eagle/Herring), enjoys the flowers and listening to the children play.
As we wrapped up this discussion with Betsy she stated, “I would like to say Peabody Home is my home. It’s where I feel at peace and where I will always live.” It was a pleasure getting to know the story of Betsy and we hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as we did.