In Memoriam

Beverly C. Reid

Bev Reid began the MFA program as a nonfiction writer. She wanted to tell the stories of a life well-lived—memories of a childhood spent in Texarkana, an adulthood in Unalaska and Anchorage, life on a sailboat with her family. By the time she graduated, she was in the fiction program, writing YA mysteries set in the far north. Bev never tired of learning and new adventures; she was seventy-five when she earned her MFA in 2017 with the submission of her fiction thesis, “Springtime in Alaska.” In the years after she earned her degree, even as she struggled with her health, she never stopped pursuing her writing, taking classes, inventing plot twists. Her warmth and humor and generous spirit left an indelible mark on all of us who knew her, and on the program itself.

Rest in peace, Bev. Thanks for all the stories.

—Megan Kruse, February 2021


A Good Many Comforts 


Gina wandered down the paved road. The ditches were overgrown now, though once a barbed wire fence lined the grazing field. The cows would get close to the fence at times, and the small children would think they were gigantic and were coming for them because they couldn’t see the wire any longer. She and her brother always kept a lookout for the monster cows while they played in the front yard. Their mother told them it was imagination and the cows couldn’t get past the wire and cross the road. They didn’t believe her. They just knew the cows were coming for them. They just knew they were. 

Her mom had passed on five years ago, and now her father’s youngest sister was gone, her Aunt Mae.  Aunt Mae and Uncle Pete bought the old farm from her parents when they decided to move away for a fresh start in Alaska. She was nine or ten at that time. The house was an old two-storied farmhouse in upstate New York. The white farmhouse had gray shutters on all the windows. The huge white house. A sentinel of this property. The farmland had plenty of green forest on it, and there were some lakes nearby. Her aunt’s place, which used to be her parents before they moved to Alaska, had a creek that ran through the backyard. It also had a little pond they named Lily Pond because it was full of beautiful green water lily pads. In the summer, the blossoms of yellowish white flowers filled the entire water. 

 Now as she walked along the long driveway to the house she remembered the beautiful river rock lining the driveway from the flower areas. Her Aunt Mae curated the flower areas carefully, and the rose bushes were now in bloom. Everything looked fresh and inviting to her.

In her mind’s eye, she saw all the kids running around, whooping, and chasing each other around the stands of beautiful oak and chestnut trees throughout the lawns. There were also trimmed laurel bushes in the fenced areas.

The yellow bus always stopped in front of the house. The old farmhouse they had lived in. She would come home from school in the afternoons, and her brother and sister would be waiting for her to get off the school bus. They would be jumping for joy that she was home and would yell for her to hurry up and get in the gate. 

Sister, Sister, come see what Mama made. Hurry, hurry, and then we can play in the fort we made.

Okay, I’m coming.

Her brother and sister ran to meet her as she stepped off the bus. 

A warm feeling came over her as she flashed in her mind how good it was to feel so loved by their excitement. She felt bad because she could go to school and they couldn’t. They wanted to be in school so bad. She remembered this was her life from when she was probably in first grade; she was probably six years old then. She would get off the bus, hug them, and then they all would run for the screened-in side porch. This was one of their favorite places to play. In the evening, the lights from inside made big brown moths slam against the screens, and this would scare them. 

Gina had parked her car down the street close to the lane that led to the nearest neighbor’s front gate. She didn’t want her sister to see her arriving, and she wanted the house to be surprised she was there. She only came to the house this time because she had given in when her sister had requested her to come help sort things out. 

She saw the old white barn standing behind the house to the left in front of a stand of forest. Not far from that there was the one-car garage. The only thing missing was the former wooden outhouse they had to use because the house was built so very long ago before there was inside plumbing. Her family had called this place home for many years. How she hated having to go outside at night and walk down the dark path to the outhouse. She was so frightened of having to take that walk in the evening. Gina remembered how her brother had to walk with her at night to and from the outhouse with a flashlight on the path, and he would tease her about her being so scared. She then thought about how he acted so mean and spooky trying to scare her by flashing the light on and off. In the total darkness, he would brush the flashlight or a stick through the bushes, and she would be terrified. She hated that walk at night. 

Mama, mama, daddy, mama, daddy, there’s a monster with big yellow eyes and big ears and big teeth, and it’s going to get us. 

This was what she, her brother, and her sister screamed as they ran into the kitchen from the screened porch one night. She was crying so hard as her brother told her parents and their friends there was a monster in the porch. They were so frightened. Their father went out to look for the monster and came back into the kitchen carrying a large rabbit by the ears. Everyone sitting at the kitchen table playing cards looked at them and started laughing and laughing.


Potter’s Marsh 


The woman appeared to be awake; she couldn’t move because she had no strength to do so. She was afraid. Pain and fear raced through her mind as she lay on the cold, wet wood. She tried to open her eyes but couldn’t. She lay listening for any sound. She heard the wind and the splashing or riffling of water.

The woman lay upon one of the wooden walkways that wove its way through the nature preserve. She did not know she was at Potter’s Marsh, and she could care less about the wildlife. Ice crystals glistened and covered her, frostlike in her hair. The portion of her face that could be seen was facing the sky. The blueness of her skin was so pale, but she didn’t know that. An old green blanket covered her, and under the blanket, she was naked except for her shoes. There was a light skiff of mist covering the wooden walkways connected through the viewing areas. It showed footprints disappearing along the walkway.  

Driving south to Seward from Anchorage on the Seward Highway, you pass Potter’s Marsh on the left side of this highway that borders the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet. Cook Inlet is a large body of water that comes up from the Gulf of Alaska. The Gulf of Alaska lies above the Pacific Ocean cutting the Alaska Peninsula off from Interior, and Southwest Alaska. The Alaska Railroad train tracks run alongside the right of the Seward Highway. The drive to Seward is a beautiful drive at any time of the year. The marsh was quiet and lonely this morning.

Earlier today, early morning before daylight, a vehicle pulled out from the main parking area of Potter’s Marsh and headed north to Anchorage, through the misty ice fog that was shrouding the roadway. There were no one else on the road, except for a truck that slowly passed on its way to Seward.


Bev Reid is survived by her husband, Steve, her two daughters and their families, and many loving friends.