Tag Archives: Terry

In Memorium: Terry

Oct 20, 1940 – Dec 19, 2020

My Mom, Terry Lynn (Brodbeck) Ward died sometime last night.

She’d been in hospice for that last six weeks or so, once it became clear that the cancer behind her eye had rendered her blind and created so much pressure on her brain that her cognition was rapidly going. She wasn’t really home, from what my sister has told me.

I did get to talk to her right after her birthday, but she’d grown so “forgetful” that her cell phone constantly ran out of juice from not being charged, and by the time we realized, it was too late to get a land-line installed.

Surgery to remove the tumor was likely to kill her, as was the chemo, so there wasn’t much to do save make peace with it all. I have talked to my two sisters more in the last month than in the previous decade, most likely, but ours hasn’t ever been a warm and fuzzy kind of family.

I did get Mom to write a book several years ago. Her grandmother Ruth had owned a traveling family carnival in the late 19th Century, and my grandfather Mel and his siblings all worked on it, both before fighting in World War Two and after they came home.

Each week, they would travel to a new little town and set up. Great Grandma Ruth ran a family sort of thing, with rides and games, rather than some of the weird shit that some places did in the old days for shock values. In the late 40s, Mom got to spent her summers in all manner of little towns, then the whole caravan would pack up on Monday morning and drive to the next place.

From her blurb:

When I was growing up, I thought all children spent their childhood living on a carnival. It wasn’t until I was taking an English class in college that I realized my early years were unique.

I was a carnie kid until I was ten years old, longer than any of the other cousins. For this reason I feel it is important to tell our story. It is a piece of Americana that is lost and won’t be repeated. Later generations won’t understand what it was like in America in those years. If I don’t share my childhood, it may be gone. We had a great time. I think this early lifestyle influenced the kind of person that I am now. I still like to travel and explore new places. Curiosity is a part of my life.

Find Terry’s book here.

Mind you, this was before television or shopping malls, so a carnival like this might have been the height of a kid’s summer when it came along.

She lived in Seattle with me for several years about a decade ago. At the time, her hearing and eyes were both poor, so we ended up getting her cataract surgery and hearing aids and gave her another decade. I remember her looking at me at one point and saying “Well, I guess I’m not supposed to be dead after all.”

But she got that extra decade, and many friends.

Terry Lynn Brodbeck Ward is survived by ex-husband Stephen, her brother Ken, daughters Cindy and Julie, son Blaze, and all the myriad generations that followed.