FOR A WOMAN who went only to the third grade in school, Pauline Beatty's descendants have attained levels of education that she could only have dreamt about.
And those well-educated offspring credit her for encouraging them every step of the way.
Pauline "Polly" Beatty, a woman who struggled with menial jobs through the Great Depression to care for her family, died June 15. She was 98 and lived in North Philadelphia.
Polly's dream was that the educational attainment of each generation of her family would exceed those before it.
She went to the third grade; her daughter, Ruth, went to the eighth grade; granddaughter Pauline Brown is studying toward her college degree; great-granddaughters, Michelle Jackson Simmons and Naima Brown-Prince, Pauline Brown's daughters, won scholarships in high school and went on to college.
Naima has a Ph.D. and is a professor at Santa Fe Community College. Michelle is in family service for the School District and is working on her college education.
Great-great-grandson Dominique Darrell Hackley graduated from Girard College last week with a scholarship to attend California University of Pennsylvania in the fall.
Nana, as she was called by her descendants, was thrilled as he stood by her bedside with an armful of awards, trophies, his high-school diploma and his scholarship to show her.
Dominique says that if he is to continue the progressive educational cycle of the family he now has to earn two doctorate degrees because his aunt Naima has one.
Polly had warned her offspring: "You will not do what I had to do, laundry, wash clothes and babysit for a living."
Nana was born in Greenville, S.C., to William and Ruth Beatty. She had to drop out of school because her mother's early death made her responsible for her two younger sisters while her father went off to work.
At the age of 17, she met and married Robert Harris. Although the union didn't last, they had a daughter, Ruth, named after Polly's mother.
As the Great Depression loomed, Polly moved to New York City and worked at whatever jobs she could find, including babysitting. Whatever money she made, she sent back to Robert who, with his mother, was taking care of Ruth.
Eventually, she earned enough working in the laundry business to bring Ruth to live with her. "She took great pride in starching and pressing men's shirts," her family said. She retired in 1978.
Shortly after her arrival in New York, she met William Adderley, and they remained in a loving relationship until his death in 1996.
In 1995, Polly moved to Philadelphia. Her daughter Ruth died in 1996 after suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.
Polly was famous in the family for her quilts. She began quilting in her youth and the family estimates that some of her her quilts are more than 70 years old.
Beds throughout her house are covered with her beautiful patchwork quilts.
She also is survived by another great-great-grandson, James Simmons Jr.