Bernice Johnson raised four daughters, but once they left home and she retired, she wasn't done being a mother. "There's not a lot to know about me, except I love people."
Aunt Bea, as the younger generation calls her, opened her home to care for other kids in her neighborhood. Her daughter Pamela Johnson says "she would help people out that had problems finding a baby sitter. The cost of childcare is so expensive she would bring hers down. She would help single parents mainly, and she would help them out."
Johnson says one mother and son would bring her angels at Christmas time. "She said I was an angel for her. She was going through some troubling times when she asked me to keep him."
Johnson shares her other labor of love with as many family and friends as she can. When she cooks, Johnson makes enough food to feed several hundred. She gives the leftovers to homebound church members and folks in nursing home.
Now a grandmother of eight, Johnson still dishes out motherly advice. Daughter Pamela says "she just gives us wisdom, she has so much wisdom and knowledge and knows so much stuff that her grandchildren can go to her for anything."
She also finds ways to be an encourager, by lending an ear to help loved ones dealing with a problem or by finding ways to make them feel good about themselves, like pressing a graduation gown.
Being a mom comes natural for Johnson, and seeing how her children grew up, brings her the greatest joy. "I'm proud of them. Not because I feel like they are better than anybody, but the lives that they live in the presence of their children and other people it makes me a proud mother."