On My Own at 107: Reflections on Life Without Bessie

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"Sweet Sadie" and "Queen Bess" Delany have become beloved icons to the millions of readers of their phenomenal bestseller, Having Our Say, which told the story of their remarkable lives: their childhood in the post-Civil War South as members of one of the nation's preeminent black families; feisty Bessie's triumph in becoming the second black woman licensed to practice dentistry in New York; Sadie's distinguished teaching career; the high-profile friends and neighbors they knew during the heyday of Harlem. An instant hit, the book introduced them ...
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Overview

"Sweet Sadie" and "Queen Bess" Delany have become beloved icons to the millions of readers of their phenomenal bestseller, Having Our Say, which told the story of their remarkable lives: their childhood in the post-Civil War South as members of one of the nation's preeminent black families; feisty Bessie's triumph in becoming the second black woman licensed to practice dentistry in New York; Sadie's distinguished teaching career; the high-profile friends and neighbors they knew during the heyday of Harlem. An instant hit, the book introduced them to the world, bringing them into the international spotlight at the ages of 100 and 102. On September 25, 1995, Dr. Annie Elizabeth (Bessie) Delany died at home in Mount Vernon, New York, marking the end of not only an extraordinary life but of a century-long relationship with her cherished older sister. Now, Sadie Delany shares her reflections on living without Bessie, revealing again the indomitable spirit that marked the sisters' shared lives and best-selling books. In On My Own at 107, she tells Bessie what it's been like living without her this first year, recounting memories and sharing funny and heartwarming stories from her new life alone.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
From Sadie, the surviving Delany sister, an inspiriting testimony to love and faith as she recalls life with Bessie and the challenge of learning to live on without her.

With coauthor Hearth, who first brought the remarkable African-American Delany sisters to public attention in 1993 with their bestselling memoir Having Our Say, Sadie now describes the year following Bessie's death in September 1995. The two had been together since their distant childhood in North Carolina and all through the long remaining years in New York. As the older sister by two years, she never expected to survive Bessie: "It doesn't seem natural that I outlived you . . . learning that I am a separate human being . . . for the first time in my life." But in the months ahead, Sadie does learn how to endure on her own and how to find pleasure in living. Summoning up the same religious faith that carried her through the worst excesses of Jim Crow legislation, she offers her memories of Bessie, and the conviction that Bessie is in heaven with their parents as a consolation for her grief. She punctuates her account of the passing year with comments on the flowers Bessie loved and cultivated in her garden, comforting quotations from the Bible, and what she's learned about life: "To make the best of life, to keep trying, no matter what." But the same zest that made the sisters centenarian celebrities also enables Sadie to make a fulfilling life on her own. She starts writing this book, educates the young about the past, gives a party to celebrate Bessie's birthday, and is honored in turn on her 107th birthday. By the year's end, she's busy and content: "Don't worry about me, Sister Bessie. Child, I've got plans."

A bracing reminder from an exemplary teacher that life, a rare gift, must be savored in the living.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780783881171
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 5/15/1997
  • Series: Core Series
  • Pages: 139
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 0.98 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2001

    Century Plus Tribute To The Delaney Sisters 2001

    I am so very proud to know that the Delaney Sisters are from Raleigh, NC. I grew up in Fayetteville, NC which is located very close to Raleigh, NC. I was able to write a book of my own thanks to the strength of these two wonderful ladies who will remain truly loved in our hearts even though they have gone on to the world which they graciously prepared themselves to enter.

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