'Balldemer Bea': No feat is too tall for her in tale

April 02, 1995

Tall tale about Bea Gaddy written by Mary Volpe's third-grade students at Roye-Williams Elementary School.

Bea Gaddy was born in Wake Forest, N. C., on Feb. 20, 1933. On the day she was born, she baked her own birthday cake.

Her family moved to Baltimore in 1935. When "Balldemer Bea" was a little girl, she could bake a 2,000-layer cake in four seconds. She was such a good cook, that whenever people smelled her cooking, there were lines, miles long, at her door.

One Thanksgiving Day, when she was 6 years old, she saw some homeless people on Charles Street. Balldemer Bea thought they should have a Thanksgiving Dinner too. She asked her mother if she could have the family's turkey. Her mother gave it to her, and Bea made a turkey casserole that fed 20 homeless people. And that's how Bea Gaddy's holiday dinners for the homeless began.

Every year she feeds more and more people. Last year, she fed so many people a Thanksgiving Dinner that it took until Christmas to feed them all.

One April day, Balldemer Bea didn't have anything to do so she visited the National Aquarium. She saw sharks, dolphins and crabs. Those crabs gave her an idea. She would make crab cake sandwiches and give them away. Balldemer Bea rented a boat at the Inner Harbor. She went crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay. She caught 1 million crabs. Now, every Sunday from April to November, homeless people can get free crab cake sandwiches on Pratt Street.

When Balldemer Bea isn't cooking, she's reading. And Hon, she just loves to read. You can find her at the Enoch Pratt Library every day and she reads 200 cookbooks a day.

Today, Bea Gaddy is the executive director for the Patterson Park Emergency Food Center. Maryland is proud of our Balldemer Bea.

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