A 94-year-old man wants to fix something he did 86 years ago, and he’s looking for the public’s help before it’s too late. This man has been holding onto a secret – he did something that possibly ruined the life of another human being -and now he’s on a mission to make amends.
Dr. Joseph Linsk was raised in an uptown area of Atlantic City, N.J. When Linsk was 8, he accidentally broke his friend’s glasses. The friend threatened to get Linsk in trouble if he didn’t give him two dollars to stay quiet. Linsk then took two dollars that were supposed to be given to the family’s maid, Pearl, and used those to pay off his friend.
The 8-year old Linsk thought he was simply squaring away his problem but instead his actions created another one. A big one. Pearl went on to ask Linsk’s parent for her payment because she was never paid. Not only did that exchange end badly, it went sideways fast.
Have you ever kept a secret? Dr. Joseph Linsk has been keeping one for 86 years… but no more. When the now 94-year-old was only a child, his actions likely ruined the life of another human being, but after all this time he’s trying to make amends. With the help of his family, Linsk is teaming up with StoryCorps, a project dedicated to recording people’s stories, in an effort to find the family of the woman he wronged.
When Linsk was only eight years old growing up in Atlantic City, a rowdy moment on the playground led to Linsk breaking his classmate’s eyeglasses. The boy in question threatened to tell his father unless Linsk could come up with the $2 he needed to get them fixed. That was when Linsk got an idea that changed his life forever.
“We had a cleaning lady by the name of Pearl, a black woman. And I knew that every week, she’d get $2 for her services,” he says on the Storycorps audio. “On this particular day, I was so terrified, I took the $2, and took it to the teacher and settled the problem of the broken glasses.”
But the trouble didn’t end there. Pearl was understandably convinced that her employer simply forgot her pay… but when she asked for her wages everything went south in a hurry.
Pearl left the premises and was unfairly labeled a thief. Linsk remembers the former housemaid was not able to get work in town after the incident, and has carried the knowledge and guilt of his actions to this very day. Hopefully, Lensk will be able to find Pearl’s family and make amends for his actions so very long ago.
We don’t know how this story will end, but it’s encouraging to see someone do everything they can to make amends.
Call me cold-hearted, but waiting this long to square things up does not make him a hero. He’s 94 years old, and I’m sure that by this time Pearl has passed away. If Linsk truly wanted to make things right for Pearl, he should have done something years ago. Who’s to know what happened to Pearl and her life after this tragic situation?
At the same time, it’s better late than never. Asking forgiveness and trying to make amends is very important if we are to have a civil society.
What do you think of holding onto this kind of secret for 86 years? Do you think Linsk will ever find Pearl or her family to make amends?
Let’s help Joseph!
Share this story in the hopes that it somehow reaches Pearl or her family.