Bessie was well known in New London where she was a Girl Scout leader for more than 20 years and the librarian at St. Joseph School for several more. She held a myriad of jobs during her lifetime; working in a factory in Detroit at the start of World War II, as a switchboard operator, and a truck driver in the Coast Guard, as a hairdresser, a florist, a clerk in a sporting goods store, and in her retirement, even at McDonald's (mostly for the french fries), and as a baby-sitter and a cat-sitter for friends all over Connecticut.
She loved to drive and could be seen trekking all over the state in her lavender painted car with license plates that read "Grandma". Despite having a notoriously terrible sense of direction, she even drove an RV across the country in 1978 to visit all of the landmarks she had always wanted to see. She was a staunch supporter of the UConn women's basketball team and of the New York Yankees.