Tell me a little about yourself and the world you live in.
A: My name is Beatrice Peterson, but people call me Beanie. I live in Hildale, Utah in the 1950’s where plural marriages are accepted. At the age of fifteen I was forced to marry one of the Mormon elders, twenty years my senior, and live with two other sister wives and six children. My husband, Orson Peterson, is not very kind to me. He abuses me when I don’t follow his rules.
Tell us your most closely guarded secret?
A: Three months into the marriage, I discovered I was pregnant, but I ended up miscarrying. When my husband found out, he was furious. He accused me of killing his child and he beat me. He forced me to have sex with him so that I would get pregnant again. My most closely guarded secret is that I ended up getting pregnant again and miscarrying a second time. I knew that if Orson ever found out he would hurt me even worse.
Tell us about your single most important memory. What was it and how does it affect you now?
A: By far, my most important memory is the day I dialed a wrong number. It changed my life forever. I was trying to reach, Miss Cora, my piano teacher, who had moved away. I needed to ask her to help me get away from Orson. But the person I ended up speaking with was a woman in Boston named Adeline Garrison. This sparked a long distance relationship spanning fifteen years.
What type of person are you? Are you a hero or do you shy away from conflict?
A: At the age of fifteen, I was shy and very fearful. But as I grew older, I became involved in the civil rights movement and fought for desegregation. I was one of the first Freedom Riders to get arrested in Birmingham, Alabama. And I marched with other peaceful demonstrators on Washington D.C. in 1963. So I would like to think of myself as a hero.
Do you have any hobbies, any special talents?
A: Yes, I am known to play a mean piano. I’m very good at sight-reading music, especially jazz. This talent landed me a nice job playing piano at a jazz club in Chicago called, Smoky Joe’s.
And in that line, what would be your ideal day?
A: My ideal day would be to take the El train with my best friend, Byron, to his great aunt and uncle’s place on the south side of Chicago and eat macaroni and cheese and then play Duke Ellington’s, Hello Little Girl on the piano at the club with Mr. Ellington singing along.
Do you have anyone close to you, any family or friends of interest?
A: Most definitely. Mrs. Adeline Garrison, (Liddie). She was the woman at the end of the line when I dialed the wrong number. Most people would have hung up, but she didn’t. She heard the desperation in my voice and she helped me. We spent years writing back and forth. I would call her from time to time when I knew Orson wouldn’t overhear me. But mostly I sent her letters and postcards. She was my saving grace, and the reason I was able to have the guts to run away from Orson.
What is your most prized possession?
A: My postcards. I always keep a stash of them in my knapsack so that I can write to Liddie no matter where I am or what I might be doing. It's these postcards that have allowed our friendship to grow.
What initially spurred your actions in this story. Obviously it had to start somewhere for you, give us an idea of where that starting point is and where it all started.
A: It all started with me being forced to marry Orson. But it wasn’t until Liddie and I became long distance friends that I was able to run away and start a new life.
How do you envision your future?
A: My goal is to become a civil rights attorney. Since I married at fifteen, I didn’t get to finish high school. But because of Liddie’s generosity, I was able to get my diploma, go to college and attend law school. One day, Liddie and I will meet face to face, and I will be able to hug the woman who helped save me.
Tell us where we can read more about you? What book are you featured in?
A: You can read more about Beanie and Liddie in their book, At the End of the Line.
Author: Kathryn Longino
Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/At-End-Line-Kathryn-Longino-ebook/dp/B00JTMM7V0/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t