Guest Post: Frankie Sue Best
Note: This essay is an excerpt from a small booklet about the life story of Frankie Sue Best, complied by Steward Caffey and Masoud Meshkat, available in Prestonsburg Public Library.
In our lifetime, our paths cross with many individuals and our lives and our souls are shaped in many ways by our experiences and interaction with those individuals. For the seven and a half years to have lived with Frankie, to have gotten to know her was such a magnificent experience.
A majority of us receive our greatest influence from our parents both genetically and morally, and then there are others whose character affects us as much if not more. For me, two of such people existed and became very influential and motivating people in my life. They were my middle school teacher and who is now my father-in-law and Frankie Sue Best, who I first met when I was seeking help for my university entrance exam at age 20. Common characteristics of these two individual that had impressed me the most in my adolescent and as a young adult was their “unconditional self-sacrificial love for benefit of others.”
Not few are the words to describe Frankie’s beautiful qualities, but they include caring, friendly, happy, optimistic, intellectual, helpful, and a faithful individual. Yet the one word that would collectively describe her best is “loving.”
We discuss and admire many good qualities of others, but seeing those qualities in practice is a different matter altogether. The aforementioned qualities are not merely my own biased opinion of Mrs. Best, but these are a direct observation and I have a vivid memory of each.
There are just too many memories to choose from, but one I think best describes Frankie Sue Best. She and her son Steven never knew a stranger. That was not always true for her neighbors. Even before I came to live with Frankie, there was one neighbor that had a difficulty engaging with Frankie and Steven, having prejudiced bias toward others including African American and other nationalities. When I stayed at Frankie’s home and my friends would visit, it did not get any better. Of course there was never a conflict, but he would not speak to her; if she would pass him by in a car, he would look away. He did not have anything nice to say about her to others, as gossip indicated. This is a natural thing and is true even today in our society as it was then. However, every year on his birthday, she would bake him a cake and send it over with a card. She had done that even before I met her. But he would never thank her or acknowledge her gift, yet, she would continue year after year. I remember delivering the cake to his house one year. Although I had complained to her, “Why do you do this if he does not appreciate it?” her only answer was that “In time, he will.” Years went by, one year when I was away, she wrote me a letter and said that “I told you, he will.” He finally came by and had admitted that he was wrong and had apologized. This is a small sample of the Frankie that I knew.
The time I spent with Frankie Best was truly the most positive and rewarding experience that occurred during my time at Prestonsburg Community College and the University of Kentucky. I thank God for knowing her and his will to cross my path with hers. After 22 years since her passing, I still miss her immensely.
The United States of America is a beautiful and resourceful country, but if I had to select the most beautiful thing in America, I would choose Frankie. She truly was my loving American mother.
I miss you so, Frankie
And I love you
Guest post by Masoud M.