One­time Syd­ney res­i­dent had gone West

Mys­tery lady ‘Becky’ alive and well and liv­ing in Al­berta

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton - BY LAWRENCE POW­ELL SALTWIRE ME­DIA

It took less than 48 hours to find the mys­tery woman in a por­trait dis­cov­ered be­hind a Port Wade man’s framed print of a ship.

She’s orig­i­nally from Wolfville, lived in Syd­ney, and is alive and well and liv­ing out West.

“My name is still Re­becca Bene­dict,” she said in re­sponse to An­napo­lis County Spec­ta­tor ques­tions emailed to her by Kris­ten Prouse, daugh­terin-law of Paul Sarty who found the photo. “I am now 65 years of age and liv­ing in Cen­tral Al­berta on a gor­geous eques­trian cen­ter with my hus­band, Paul Devlin, two cats, three dogs and 11 beau­ti­ful Dutch Warm­blood show horses (all my friends will love to know that. I can hear them say: ‘That’s Becky!’)”

Bene­dict doesn’t re­mem­ber how old she was when the photo was taken, but be­lieves she was in her mid-20s.

“War­ren Gor­don took this photo at his stu­dio in Syd­ney,” she said. “I bought the dress at Ja­cob­son’s Ladies’ Wear on Char­lotte Street! I loved it.”

She said the photo was not taken on any spe­cial oc­ca­sion that she can re­mem­ber and she’s not sure what ring she was wear­ing, but it wasn’t a wed­ding band – although she was mar­ried at the time.

The only mys­tery left is how her 17- by 21-inch por­trait was placed be­hind a pho­to­graph of the New­found­land ship the S. S. Kyle. Bene­dict doesn’t know.

“I have no clue how that hap­pened,” she said. “I learned the photo was found when I had a de­light­ful call from my two dar­ling sis­ters who were hav­ing one hi­lar­i­ous time spec­u­lat­ing how that por­trait got there! We had fun con­jur­ing up sce­nar­ios and came up with some pretty fan­ci­ful spins!”

She said she is rarely on Face­book any more be­cause she be­lieves so­cial me­dia has taken a rather ugly turn these days. “Just too many echo cham­bers formed by peo­ple who are not think­ing be­yond their own very cen­tered worlds,” she said.

Find­ing the photo in the first place was an ac­ci­dent.

The por­trait of Bene­dict slipped out from be­hind the framed photo of the S. S. Kyle last week when Sarty dropped it and the back came off, leav­ing him to spec­u­late who she might be. When Prouse, of Water­ville, heard about the mys­tery photo, she thought of Face­book im­me­di­ately.

She posted the photo of the ship and the por­trait of the woman on Face­book May 22 ex­plain­ing what hap­pened and that they were try­ing to find out who the woman was. Within 24 hours there were 219 shares and by Wed­nes­day morn­ing another 80 shares.

“We’d love to get this back to the right­ful owner or their fam­ily,” Prouse said in her post.

The 64-year-old Sarty had bought the framed print of the S. S. Kyle about three years ago at a yard sale some­where in An­napo­lis County. As it turns out, Bene­dict and all of her sib­lings were born in the An­napo­lis Val­ley.

Prouse even cre­ated a Face­book Page de­voted for the search for Bene­dict, at www.face­book.com/the­ma­tronofthesskyle

Bene­dict has one son who is an equine vet­eri­nar­ian with his own prac­tice and another who is an RCMP of­fi­cer. Both are in Bri­tish Columbia. And she has grand­chil­dren – in­clud­ing a grand­daugh­ter who she’s told is a lot like her.

“My thoughts of what was hap­pen­ing as­suredly took me back to the kind spir­ited life style of my up­bring­ing in Nova Sco­tia,” she said when asked what she thought of Prouse’s search for her. “I truly miss my broth­ers, sis­ters and friends. The Mar­itimes has so much to of­fer – the most shin­ing ex­am­ple is this gen­er­ous ad­ven­tur­ous up-tak­ing to find the ‘mys­tery lady’. I am truly no mys­tery, but do so hope a true am­bas­sador for Nova Sco­tia where ever I go. The world needs Mar­itime kind­ness!!”

In her cor­re­spon­dence with Prouse, Bene­dict praised the Water­ville woman.

“I am oh so very im­pressed that you would re­turn that photo,” she said. “Per­haps my grand­daugh­ter (named Syd­ney by the way) would love to have it some day when she can tell this story. She’s been de­lighted to hear of it and that Gramma is a ‘Mys­tery Lady in Pink.’ Syd­ney will be 11 soon, so a fun story for a girl who loves Ann of Green Gables!!”

She loved Prouse’s spirit. “And you, Kris­ten, are a trea­sure!!,” she said. “What fun to jump down rab­bit holes!! Keep that up!!”

As for Prouse? “Re­becca has been SO very kind and gen­er­ous with her time in help­ing us with a bit of clo­sure to this ad­ven­ture!,” she said on the Face­book Page. “A big thanks to ev­ery­one who helped share this and turn the Mar­itimes on their head help­ing us to lo­cate her.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Re­becca Bene­dict in Al­berta got a phone call from her sis­ters in Nova Sco­tia say­ing ev­ery­body was look­ing for her. The por­trait on the left slipped out from be­hind a photo of a ship when Port Wade’s Paul Sarty ac­ci­dently dropped the frame on the floor last week. His daugh­ter-in-law Kris­ten Prouse of Water­ville, Kings County, posted on Face­book and started a search for the ‘mys­tery woman.’ The An­napo­lis County Spec­ta­tor did a story and it was seen by Bene­dict’s fam­ily in Nova Sco­tia. The por­trait on the right is Bene­dict to­day.

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