Beverly Mitzel’s life is devoted to caregiving and service. It’s what she does both on the job, as a CARE manager at the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network, and at home, raising — along with her partner Sonja Austin — four adopted, special needs children, all under the age of 14. (Two more adopted daughters are now grown.) Many of you might be more familiar with Beverly’s oldest son (who’s also my godson) than with her. Jordan Mitzel has led the field in fundraising for the annual RAIN AIDS Walk so many times they’ve named the Top Individual Fundraiser award after him. Beverly never ceases to amaze me with her love, patience and stamina. I almost felt bad for asking her to take precious time to answer our questions. (I said “almost,” boo boo. Don’t get it twisted…you know how we do at 20-Q.)
Who was the better ’70s superheroine: Wonder Woman, Isis or the Bionic Woman?
As a mom, I have to go with Isis since her main job was to teach a moral lesson to the kids she generally needed to get out of a jam. Wonder Woman had the best costume, though.
How long has it been since you’ve had a TV dinner?
An honest-to-goodness TV dinner with the tin foil tray? I would guess about 1975. But being a working mom, we survive on frozen quick meals more than I would like to admit.
Which is the more perilous job: Being a mom or working with hazmat?
I think owning a hazmat suit is a prerequisite to parenthood. Have you been into a teenager’s room recently? I rarely enter unless I am armed with a trash bag and a can of Lysol.
Who was your big celebrity crush when you were a teen?
Jodie Foster! I loved her. She was quite the tomboy in her early films. I adored her as Becky Thatcher in “Tom Sawyer.” Since we were about the same age, I thought we were just meant to be. By the time “Taxi Driver” came along I was in full-blown crush mode.
Do you know how to play pokeno?
No, but I play a mean game of Tripoly.
Which London Olympics event had you on the edge of your seat?
Women’s soccer. Hope Solo, Abby Wombach…they are both tough and gorgeous. What’s not to like?
What was the first concert ticket you bought with your own money?
KISS in 1978. I was a junior in high school. This was back in the days of “festival seating,” which really meant get there early and push your way to the front and stand for the entire concert. My (then) boyfriend and I were in full makeup — I as the cat man Peter Criss and he as the starchild Paul Stanley. We were in the second row. Gene Simmons grabbed my 35mm camera and took pictures of himself doing that crazy tongue thing he does. Then he took pictures of the rest of the band and gave me back the camera. It was only after the concert that we realized my boyfriend had loaded the film incorrectly and none of the photos even took! I realized then that I should have taken a girl to the concert.
How do these films rank based on the number of times you’ve seen them: “Conan The Barbarian,” “Predator,” “The Terminator,” “Twins”?
I’ve seen “Terminator” about a dozen times — love Arnold in this film. Not crazy about him in the others. Ah-nold is best playing the strong silent type. “Twins”…really?
Who’s MILFier: Marge Simpson, Peggy Hill or Lois Griffin?
Too funny! I guess Peggy Hill because she’s got that sexy take-charge way about her. I relate to Peggy on a lot of levels. Her family and mine would get along great. And if they didn’t, she’d make them get along…and like it.
What color do you never wear because it doesn’t look good on you?
I’m not a big fan of green — especially dark green. Someone once told me “green is the color of scum on a pond.” Best to just leave green alone.
How would you finish this sentence: “I don’t care if all the kids at your school have…”
…an iPhone. I am not getting sucked into that data plan. No way, no how.
Who is your all-time favorite female rock vocalist?
Gosh, there have been so many over the years: Pat Benatar, Melissa Etheridge, Joan Jett, Annie Lennox, Grace Slick, Pink, Tina Turner. I would pay to see any of them. A woman and an electric guitar is a beautiful thing.
What’s the last magazine you read or thumbed through?
I am a celebrity gossip junkie, so I actually enjoy flipping through the National Enquirer or People magazine at the check-out line of the grocery store. Of course, I don’t believe any of it is true unless I can verify it online by Perez Hilton.
How often do you carry a purse?
Seriously, a purse? I am a lesbian. I carry a leather wallet in my back pocket.
Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon?
Yes, and it’s another camera story. Years ago I spent a day touring the Grand Canyon with my (then) partner who had grown up and gone to school near there. She took me to all of these beautiful overlooks and out-of-the-way spots. Leaving the last spectacular view, I inadvertently left the camera on the roof of the car. She pulled out and rolled right over it. That was probably the beginning of the end of that relationship, too.
Cheddar, swiss or Kraft singles?
Kraft singles. No time for the fancier things in life these days. Ham and cheese, bologna and cheese, grilled cheese…I make a mean sandwich.
Who’s the sexiest “Jennifer” of all time?
Jennifer Beals. Before there was “The L Word,” there was “Flashdance.” The body, the dancing, the water — oh, don’t get me started. Truly, “Flashdance” was a defining moment for me because I thought Jennifer Beals was the hottest woman I had ever seen. It was just hard to remain in denial after that.
Which is greater, your ring-finger size or the number of Facebook updates and comments you post in a typical day?
I have to admit: I’m an “over sharer” on Facebook. I love to update my status and share family photos. My kids refer to me as “mama”razzi. I’m sure I embarrass them.
Have you ever owned a pair of false eyelashes?
No. Putting contacts in my eyes is traumatic enough for me.
Would legalizing second-parent adoptions have a significant effect on your family?
Most definitely. My partner and I have co-parented six children together. Since North Carolina does not legalize second-parent adoptions, we made the decision that I would be the adoptive parents of our boys and she, of our girls. It is disheartening to know that if something were to happen to either of us, the children would not automatically stay in the care of the surviving parent, even though we have jumped through whatever legal hoops are available to us to insure this. : :