Miss Bettie Rosenthal

May 2, 1875 – Oct. 19, 1957


By Ronnie Collins

A Very Short Story, with Very Little Embellishment


Miss Bettie Rosenthal was a close friend to the Collins and Caddess and Hambrick families.  She lived next door to Wilson and Louise Caddess in the house that was, after her death, occupied by the Ralph Hogue family.


Miss Bettie was well loved, and was very learned about the Town of Vaiden and its past history.  She would often tell tales of the old stagecoach routes and the ways of life in the olden days of Vaiden.  Miss Bettie was a colorful character and was someone you’d always be glad to see at your door.


When we lived at the house by the Vaiden Cemetery, Miss Bettie was 82 years old when I was almost 3.  We received a phone call from her, stating that she was not feeling well.  During the course of the conversation, my mother, Juanita Collins, and my aunt, Louise Caddess, decided that they needed to take her to the hospital in Winona.  This was in the days of no seatbelts or child restraints and, as was accustomed, they put me on the back seat with Miss Bettie.


Of course, this day, Miss Bettie was not her usual, jovial self.  She really was sick.  On the way to Winona, my imagination got the best of me.  About the time we got to what we call “Smith’s Hill” (about 4 miles north of Vaiden on Highway 51), she started into some type of seizure.  Not being an almost-three-year-old neurosurgeon, and especially not well versed in any medical knowledge whatsoever, I immediately conjured up images of the Devil, Old Scratch, Beelzebub, Satan, Mephisto, or any kind of witch that I could.  I did discover, however, that I had powers of levitation. 


I came off the back seat, hovered for a fraction of a second, and shot over onto the front floorboard in aq dive that would have made an Olympic judge proud.  Thank goodness that I went into the passenger side floorboard, or we would have wrecked.  I was under my mother’s feet, and that’s where I would stay until we arrived at the hospital.


Miss Bettie passed away shortly thereafter.  She was one of the sweetest people you could have ever known.  But . . .to the mind of a 3 year old child, that makes no difference.  Whether you’re 3 or 30, if you think you see the devil. . . RUN !!!


[Ed. Note:  This little memory of mine was not told to belittle Miss Bettie Rosenthal in any way.  If she had recovered, she would have gotten quite a laugh at my actions.  Time may heal the hurt, but the memories will still remain.  Miss Bettie, you were a good friend.  Rest in Peace.]