Delia Loughlin as portrayed by a student from the Immaculate Conception School of Jamaica Estates, NY.
Good afternoon. My name is Delia Loughlin, but I am more commonly known as "The Bluebird of Mulberry Bend". When I was very small my mother died and I was placed in a convent where I was taken care of by strangers. I never felt loved by these people. When I was 17, I wandered off to be on my own and had a hard time providing for myself. The year was 1890.
I found a way to live down in The Five Points, the notorious New York City den of evil and sinful deeds. My hangout was at Mulberry Bend. They called me "The Bluebird " because I always wore blue dresses. I actually had quite a few nicknames ... the cops called me "The Mystery", and others knew me as the "Mulberry Slum Bummer."
I found the hardest kind of life there, and soon my soft, lovely face became haggard and worn. I became a creature of the night. I moved from place to place, in worry that I would be arrested for all the bad things I was doing. I was an expert pickpocket and was put in prison three times. I fought with everyone and have the scars to prove it. No one could get the better of me until one day .... The missionary Mrs. Whittemore came to see me.
I looked strangely at this soft spoken woman speaking of being saved by The Holy Spirit. She gave me a fresh pink rose and told me that I was like the rose. I kept that rose and noticed that the petals wilted and fell, and I suddenly realized that it was like what was happening to me. Then and there I marched up to The Mission to find the lady who had given me the rose. I found the Blessed Lord and in my faith I was reborn like a brand new rose! I was full of love. After I learned the way of God, I went down into the very places where they had saved me, and I redeemed many of the souls of the same people I fought with and stole from. I helped them find the path of God. I went to the toughest of prisons to speak of my salvation and brought many souls back from the brink of hell.
As you can see, I was redeemed to the young lovely girl I started out as. I did not live past the age of 23, but my story lives on forever.
Presented May 22, 2004 by The Richmond Hill Historical Society, Maple Grove Cemetery, and The Immaculate Conception School of Jamaica Estates, NY (Dr. Charlene Jaffie, principal).
Copyright © 2004 Carl Ballenas & Nancy Cataldi.
No claim to Old Kew Gardens [.com] color photograph.