You’re young, alone, and surrounded by strangers who speak a language you don’t understand. You’re weary, having travelled thousands of miles into the unknown, because everything you knew and loved has been destroyed.
This is the tale of the woman Baltimore came to know as its premiere kosher caterer, Bessie Bluefeld. About 100 years ago she followed her husband Charles from Ukraine to settle in Baltimore.
In celebration of Dr. King’s holiday, I want to honor the Rev. Delores M. Roberts-Mason, who dedicated her life to “the least, the last and the lost,” empowering children through reading, performing arts, education and religion.
Mrs. Roberts-Mason was a natural at empowerment. She pursued her first degree while her two children were young, and took them with her to campus on weekends. “I want them to assume they belong in university,” she told me.
The list of Delores’ accomplishments is long. during her 30 years with DC DHS she touched many lives, uplifting, educating, encouraging and empowering families who had fallen on hard times. Her testimony before the House and Senate Select Committee on Aging in 1989 was helped pass legislation protecting seniors. Howard University honored her as an Outstanding Woman of Washington for her work with young people.
When I met Delores in 2004, she was the head of Zoe Life Ministries, a faith-based youth empowerment organization that ran reading, performing arts and non-violence programs with area kids.
Armed with only volunteers, Rev. Delores and the Zoe Kids & Teens Theater Group wrote, produced and performed numerous musicals including Day of Reckoning, Heart of an Angel,Why and more. The typical production took 2 years from script to performance. Dedicated volunteers worked with the kids on dance, acting and music. But it was Rev. Delores who recruited, wrote, rallied and wrangled the entire magnificent enterprise into being.
The Teen Peace Summit was a special school day dedicated to violence prevention held at Walker Mill Middle School in Capital Heights, MD. Tapping her extensive network of professionals in many fields for leaders, Rev. Delores created a dozen or more break-out sessions with topics like Conflict Resolution, How to Say NO, Seeing One Another through Art, and more on the morning of this special day. The afternoon saw awards presented to students for accomplishments in writing, speaking and art.
Rev. Delores had many gifts, but perhaps the most important was the ability to help people open up and share the best part of themselves. She touched many lives in her work, certainly my own. I believe she had the heart of an angel.
Did you ever go through a dark night of the soul, and reach deep into yourself and find hope or strength from something a friend shared, or a beautiful memory? Well, that feeling of relief that you get at a moment like that, THAT is a Bone Sigh.
A long time ago (at Artomatic 2003) I wandered into a little room filled with tiny watercolors that exploded with color and were inscribed with expressions of deep feeling. They were unlike anything I had ever seen before. They were the work of Terry St. Cloud, an amazing woman who generates a great deal of love and light in this world, whom I am honored to know as a neighbor and friend.
These days, Terry runs Bone Sigh Arts, her successful company that provides gifts, greeting cards, books, and hosts an amazing community. Terry manifested this beautiful business from her own love and determination to honor herself and her creativity as she raised her three boys, now grown and in business for themselves.
When you need a beautiful card or gift, want to lift someone’s spirits, read inspiring ideas and stories, or share your own, please head to Bone Sigh Arts to a unique and magical world that is only possible because of this talented and determined woman.