A Short Story
By Susie Christian and Grace Wheeler
Social Issues and Superpowers
Betty Byrd: The Protector of the Elderly
Every Hero Needs Cause
The social issue my Superhero will deal with is elder abuse. Elder abuse can take many forms from physical to emotional to financial. The abuse is often unreported as the elderly are unable to communicate the abuse or are intimidated into remaining silent. My superhero, Betty Byrd, works in a nursing home for the aged and becomes an advocate for the rights of the elderly to be able to live out their days with happiness and dignity.
In this adventure, Betty Byrd has been sent down by the goddess Venus to protect the aging Bill Woggon. Bill Woggon is the artist that created the Katy Keene comics that were popular in the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Woggon). Mr. Woggon has suffered a stroke and was recently forced to become a resident of a Hollywoodland Senior Home. In order to keep a close eye on Bill Woggon, Betty Byrd convinces the owner of Hollywoodland to hire her as the recreation director/art teacher at the Hollywoodland Senior Home. Under Betty Byrd’s guidance, the residents thrive as she involves them in various art projects. Bill Woggon, who long ago gave up art because of his stroke, is once again drawing. With Betty Byrd’s help he is creating new paper dolls and planning layouts for future issues of Katy Keene Comics.
When Betty first starts her job at the senior home, she has a difficult time fitting in. Betty Byrd is beautiful and vain, and the seniors notice that she often pauses to gaze at herself and primp in every mirror in the home. This prompts residents to shake their heads at this constant egotistical distraction. Residents also notice that Betty is unusually emotional and quick to anger as a result of her passionate nature. Because of Betty’s foibles, the seniors are reluctant to confide in her. Fortunately for all, Blaze, the therapy parrot enters the picture and serves as the bridge that makes the relationship work between Betty and the residents. With time, the residents grow to respect and trust Betty.
Blaze the parrot is the spirit guide to Betty Byrd, and Betty has the power to inhabit the body of Blaze. In this form Betty is able to find out many valuable, deeply hidden secrets from her elderly charges since the elderly residents will often say things to Blaze that they will not tell Betty. To further assist in her sleuthing efforts, Betty is able to become invisible in order to obtain even more information.
The social issue of elder abuse in any form is very near to my heart. As a result of twenty-six years as a Pharmacy Tech, I daily visited nursing homes and made home calls to deliver prescriptions to numerous seniors. I observed all forms of senior abuse – from being painfully lonely and miserable, to actual mistreatment and neglect of serious health problems. Viewing this sadness daily had a profound impact on my life and gave me the desire to always help when I saw the chance.
Theobald, Claire (2015) “More Needs to be Done for Abused Seniors, Says Alberta Elders Advocate”, Edmonton Sun
Bulman, Philip (2010) “Elder Abuse Emerges From the Shadows of Public Consciousness”, National Institute of Justice (Vol. 265).
Superhero Powers and Weaknesses
The goddess Venus gave Betty Byrd a number of special powers including superhuman strength and the ability of levitate objects. Venus also equipped Betty with a brilliant belt with a large star buckle, which could transform Betty's physical form abilities in many useful ways. Betty Byrd was instructed to touch the lower tip of the star to become invisible, whereas touching the top of the star would allow her to shape-shift in order to enter the body of her spirit guide animal Blaze, the parrot.
Betty is extremely vain and likes to look in the mirror. She will often fall into a dreamstate while staring at her image. This makes her vulnerable to attack by her enemies.
Temperamental and sometimes lacks empathy.
The Development of Betty Byrd
Pop X: The Rise of the Super-Heroes
and Their Impact on Pop Culture
A Smithsonian Educational Project
Venus: The Inspiration for the Superhero Betty Byrd
2. Social Issues and Superpowers
Betty Byrd: The Protector of the Elderly
Venus and the Origin of Betty Byrd
Vulcan and the Origin of Supervillain Scissorman
5. The Story
The Adventures of Betty Byrd (or Betty Bryd vs. Scissorman)
Copyright © 2015, Susie Christian
All Rights Reserved