A single decision made by an Atlantic City resident more than 80 years ago had subsequent consequences and left him smitten with grief.

Dr. Joseph Linsk grew up on Atlantic Avenue in the 1930s. At 8 years old, he accidentally broke a student’s glasses and needed $2 for the repairs. Afraid of the consequences, young Linsk decided to take the $2 his family paid their cleaning lady, an African-American woman named Pearl.

When Pearl told the 8-year-old’s mother she was not paid, Mrs. Linsk assumed she was lying and told her not to return for work. The news made it around the neighborhood, and Pearl could not find a job.

Now, at 94-years-old, Dr. Linsk is suffering from Parkinson’s disease and wants to make amends for his actions. He doesn’t remember Pearl’s last name or what happened to her family, so he’s turning to the South Jersey community for help.

While telling his story on StoryCorps, NPR’s Steve Inskeep requested that anyone with information about Pearl or her family contact StoryCorps at


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