Bernadette Lancelin loves gardening. - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Bernadette Lancelin loves gardening.

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HOUSTON -

 

"These are my flower beds over here," she said. "I had tomatoes and cucumbers and cabbage. I'm just a normal person. I'm just normal. I go to work every day. I come home. I cook. I take care of my mom."

But the 53 year old grandmother of six is also an internet sensation. Chances are you've probably seen the YouTube video of a Fox 26 newscast in which a Lancelin offered a very heated opinion on the possibility of using an abandoned building in her neighborhood to shelter some of the unaccompanied, undocumented immigrant children crossing our southern border.

"Stop playing around. This is ridiculous," she is heard yelling on the video clip. "All these kids? Really? Why can't they go back?"

The interview was given as Lancelin decided to crash a tour of what used to be Terrell Middle School. It's now an empty building a few streets down from the house where Lancelin grew up, the house marked with the names of all her brothers and sisters.

"My dad let me do that," she said, as she pointed to the long list of names. "He let me write on the concrete when they poured it. I thought that was so cool."

It's also the foundation for her fury. Terrell was her school.

Now it's under consideration to house some of the unaccompanied, undocumented children at the center of an international crisis that's projected to cost billions of dollars. It's not that she doesn't like children. She just doesn't want them here at the expense of her children and grandchildren.

"(My grandson) Lawrence wanted to know why he couldn't play on that basketball court at Terrell because the gates were locked," she said. " That's an issue for me. And then this happened. So that's why, Lawrence. You can't go over there because they're trying to put 800 illegal immigrants over there, baby, and let them play on it instead of you playing on it. I'm a homeowner. This is my home. This is my family's home. We'll always be here. The taxes are paid, and they're up to date."

But the schools are gone.

So is the community swimming pool, and the neighborhood grocery store, which was run by her Lancelin's mother, a woman known to the children in the community as Ms. Nora. She opened the store in 1978. Her 'cool cups', basically frozen Kool-Aid, were popular, especially on hot summer days.

"I did so good," she said with a smile. " I saved my money and my son said, 'buy me a tractor, momma.' So I bought the boy a tractor. And that's how he learned to drive. And those cool cups paid it off. Twenty five cents (a cup), but that was a lot of money."

Business was good. The neighborhood children loved Ms. Nora, who is now 83 years old.

"But my husband got sick, and I had to close the store down because the children," she said. "I had three children at Terrell at the time, and no one to take care of them. So I closed it up, thinking he would get better, but he passed away. I didn't really know how tired I was until he did, and I refused to open back up."

Someone in the neighborhood still makes those 'cool cups.' Lawrence's friends brought some over to enjoy while a group of children bounced on a large trampoline in Lancelin's backyard.

"Let me see your cool cup baby, come here," Lancelin said.

A little boy who answered questions with a " yes, ma'am" handed her his cup without questioning her.

"Cool cup," she said before quickly handing it back to the boy.

"It's a low income neighborhood, but I'm glad to be here," she said. " I'm glad that I did what I did last week so I can help these babies. Everybody wants something better for their child. And that's all this is about. (We need) something better for our kids first. We take care of home first. We can't take care of everybody's child."

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