The case of the raging grandma

General Gayety

by Leslie Robinson  Contributing Writer  lesarobinson@gmail.com
Published: July 12, 2008 in General Gayety, Opinion

Joyce Beddell will not be winning Grandmother of the Year. Right now she’s just trying to win her freedom.
The 61-year-old from Reading, Pa., was arrested by police for beating the daylights out of her granddaughter after finding the 16-year-old in bed with another girl.

Apparently Beddell has a strong opinion about lesbianism and a strong arm to back it up.

The Reading Eagle reported that Beddell’s granddaughter, whose name hasn’t been released, and another female 16-year-old from the neighborhood shared some afternoon delight one Thursday in mid-June.

I immediately wondered if that was their way of celebrating the end of the school year.

They had just finished their activities when Joyce Beddell walked into the upstairs bedroom and found them.

Beddell beat her granddaughter with a cane. The other girl fled to her house nearby. Understandable, but not the most chivalrous action.

Beddell’s fury must’ve been monumental; she beat her granddaughter with her cane until it broke.

Neighbors saw Beddell leave the house, accompanied by her granddaughter, who was limping. Come to think of it, Beddell might’ve been limping too, her cane having just met a bad end.

The pair’s destination was the house of the other girl. Grandma wanted to tell the girl’s mother what the two teenagers had been up to.

The newspaper didn’t say whether she got her chance. Even without that scene, the events read like a young adult novel. Teenage lesbian love paying the ultimate price.

Even if we’re not talking about ardent devotion but simply a case of ill-timed teenage lust, the tale has a clear villain: a Pennsylvania grandmother with a scary anger-management problem and humungous homophobia.

After Beddell and her granddaughter returned from going visiting, Beddell resumed beating her, this time with a belt. Police arrived, thank God, investigating a report of child abuse.

The police ferried the teenager to the hospital. She was in great pain, suffering from serious bruises on her legs and buttocks. Her afternoon certainly turned from pleasure to pain faster than you can say “lesbian-in-training.”

Beddell told the cops that she hadn’t done anything wrong and she should be allowed to discipline her granddaughter as she wished.

The police begged to differ, charging her with aggravated and simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of a child.

I feel confident that Beddell would say concern for the child’s welfare was precisely why she beat the crap out of her. If smacking her with a cane keeps her from going gay, then she’s going to lay in a supply of them. Raid all the drugstores in town. Knock them out from under old people. It’s for her granddaughter’s own good. Better crippled than a dyke!

After arraignment before a judge, Beddell wound up in Berks County Prison in lieu of $10,000 bail. If she’s still firm in her belief that she did nothing wrong, she must be furious at her granddaughter, whose perverted actions were the reason her poor grandmother’s keister landed in jail. Possibly Beddell is spending a lot of her prison time mentally designing a cane that won’t break.

How would Joyce Beddell have reacted if she’d found her granddaughter in bed with a 16-year-old boy? Would she have beaten her just the same or giddily celebrated that, while the girl might get pregnant, at least she isn’t queer?

If Beddell’s granddaughter was in the closet, she sure isn’t now. Everybody in Reading knows what she was doing that afternoon and how she paid for it. Out of the closet and into the hospital is a horrid teenage coming-out scenario. I hope she gets some help — from people who don’t wield canes.

info: LesRobinsn@aol.com . www.GeneralGayety.com