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A simple request

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Mike Beacom

msbeacom@yahoo.com
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Posted April 17, 2011 @ 1:18 p.m. ET
By Mike Beacom

"Hi Mike I need your help," the email began. "I came across the article again you wrote in 2009. I don't know if it was fate or just coincidence."

Margie Hicks' request seemed simple enough: Could I help her obtain her late brother's jersey from the Philadelphia Eagles? Blenda Gay wore No. 68 during the two seasons he lined up at defensive end for the club.

Having that jersey could bring a little peace to Margie's 80-year-old mother, Evelyn. "My brother was my mother's first born and she has not only been through the loss of a child, but a grandchild and so many unanswered questions," Margie explained.

In December 1976, Gay was asleep in his bed when his wife, Roxanne, slit his throat. Blenda Gay crawled to the phone and called police for help, telling the dispatcher his wife had stabbed him. He was pronounced dead a half-hour later at John F. Kennedy Hospital.

"My sister and I will never understand how my mother forgave Roxanne (when she called my mother just months after the murder) for killing my brother," Margie wrote. In 1978, Roxanne was ruled insane and acquitted of all charges; she was admitted to Trenton Psychiatric Hospital. The couple's three-year-old daughter went to live with Roxanne's mother after the trial. For the past three decades, Evelyn and Blenda's two sisters have tried to find her.

"… we can give something back from my brother to our mother," Margie wrote, referring to the jersey. "I have two wonderful sons, one who has just graduated from Hofstra University and a 14-year-old who has a love for the Philadelphia Eagles ever since he found out he had an uncle who once played with them."

The good folks at the Eagles — Ryan Nissan, the team's football media services manager, and Julie Hirshey, the community relations manager — took my call and sent the request through the proper channels. In March, a package arrived at Evelyn's door. "On behalf of the Philadelphia Eagles, please accept this jersey and our appreciation for the time that Blenda spent with our team," the note read.

Said Margie, "When I asked (my mother) what she felt as she looked and touched the jersey, she stated, 'Yesterday is gone, and memories of Blenda are so fresh in my mind even though I am old.' My mother began to weep with joy and appreciation."

 

Follow Beacom on Twitter @mbeac

Mike Beacom is a pro and college football writer whose work has appeared in numerous print and online sources. He is also the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Football (Alpha, 2010).

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