Howard K. Beale Jr.
Update for 50th Reunion is after 45th Reunion.
I have a Polaroid photo of myself in my Snidely Whiplash mode during my days as a Special Police Officer. However, it was a gift and I don’t have the negative. I would hate to lose it but will bring it with me.
I have attached a photo to the e-mail. It got taken a couple of years ago to go with an article I wrote (yes, at long last I am a published author) and actually bears some slight resemblance to the original.
I have been divorced for some three years and so will skip the usual about Martha, with whom I make a point to talk as little as possible. I also will not bore you with the details unless someone really, really wants and then off-line.
#1 Daughter – Marita B. Beale, Marita is now twenty-three. She was graduated this year from St. Michael’s College in Colchester (Burlington), Vermont. She did me proud as an English major with a 3.89 cumulative average, a magna cum laude degree, and induction into Phi Beta Kappa. Her honors thesis was on cross-dressing in Shakespeare (Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night) and what that might tell us about gender identity. She divides her time between her mother’s and my homes and works at the pet store where she has spent her vacations for some years. She is now trying to figure out what she wants to do when she grows up and is applying for editorial jobs at publishing houses and writing jobs at magazines. The best opportunities seem to be in New York, where she does not really want to live. She has also acquired a boy-friend (her first) who seems a decent sort though she has not yet subjected him to close scrutiny from her stern Victorian Papa. Life in her vicinity does keep one agile.
#2 Daughter – Eleanor E. Beale, Eleanor is now sixteen and a rising Junior at the Loomis-Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut, where she boards during the school year. Like her sister, she divides her time between her parents, though she does seem to gravitate here when it is time to go school shopping. She seems to be doing well at school. To my great sorrow, she loathes History but to my delight she is voluntarily taking Latin, which she likes and which she is working on over the summer. Unlike all the other Beales, she seems to like Science (where, oh where, did I go wrong). Like all the other Beales, she is not athletic. She is sufficiently diplomatic that one often does not notice that underneath is a will of iron. I find her company most entertaining and make a point of running down to Hartford to take her out to dinner once a month or so when she is in school. Next year she will have to think hard about college. I shall be sixty-eight when she is graduated. My recurring nightmare is that I will stagger in to her commencement and have her run up to me and say, “Guess what, Daddy. I just got into medical school.” And so it continues.
#1 Brother – Henry B. R. Beale (WHS Class of 1961) Henry remains married to Susan. He has two sons, Andrew (adopted) and Nathaniel (they got pregnant within months of the adoption). Nathaniel is a student a Beloit College. Andrew is working. You can reach Henry at:
Henry B. R. Beale
4354 Warren Street, N. W.
Washington, D. C. 20016-2438
#2 Brother – Thomas W. Beale, Tom and Laura live in Cambridge, where they have lived for many years. They have recently acquired what is reported to be a magnificent summer place on Squam Lake (Golden Pond) in New Hampshire. Tom’s older daughter worked for a couple years after St. Paul’s and Harvard but will enter a joint program in the fall at Yale that will get her Master’s degrees in both Business Administration and Public Health. Her sister, Corinna, has just been graduated from Connecticut College and will start Tufts Veterinary School in the fall. Laura writes books almost faster than I can read them or get her to autograph them (her best is Good Intentions Aside, published by the Harvard Business School Press on Business Ethics). Tom continues to analyze financial markets, publish his newsletter, get mentioned in Barron’s occasionally and sneak into the economic meetings at Davos. He can be reached at:
Thomas W. Beale
11 Buckingham Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
My Mother – Georgia Robison Beale, My mother died at the beginning of the month and was buried with my father in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington D. C. This was not really a surprise. Henry, Tom, and I went up to New Hampshire to celebrate her one-hundredth birthday last March. She was physically terribly frail and had had a couple of strokes which affected her memory. Indeed, if reaching one hundred means being as fragile as she was, I am not sure I want to. However, she had a long and formidable run. She went back to teaching at Castleton State College when she was sixty three (1968). When they heaved her out at sixty-five (mandatory retirement, you know), she was greatly annoyed and went off to the University of Kentucky where she taught for two years more. Her PhD thesis was republished in 1972. She continued to do research and write articles until she was past ninety. I have two from 1991 when she was eighty-six. A lady of great intelligence and remarkable determination.
As for me, I have attached one of my, by now, several resumes, which will give you a good deal of what I have been doing over the years. Raytheon and I parted company (for the second time) last year and I finally took a plunge that I had thought about for years. I became a Substitute Teacher and started serious steps to change careers and become a Middle School/High School teacher. In Massachusetts, they are screaming for teachers and one would think that with two Harvard degrees, this would be a snap. One would be wrong. Since I really don’t want to drop everything at my time of life and go take another Master’s degree just to prove I can write a lesson plan and sharpen pencils, I am trying to get into a system and once in, bootstrap from there. I have passed the Massachusetts Teachers’ exam for Middle School Mathematics, somewhat to my surprise. I heard about it three days ahead and found myself winging it. Apparently Mr. Mock wrought better than he realized since I have not had a Math course in forty years, nor thought about it either. Now watch me flame out in History where I actually know something. I am not sure where all this will lead, but I do know that I have no desire ever to return to cubicle-land. As some of you may recall, I had no great fondness for pep rallies (still don’t). I have heard it too much and if some moron prates again about how we are all a team here and how we do “metrics for success”, I shall either deck him or barf. The kids I have been teaching sometimes give me a hard time and my feet frequently hurt at the end of the day, but for the last few months I have for the first time felt as though I might actually be doing something useful. I have had more fun than I have had in years.
Spare time is scarce. I finally got my library unpacked and shelved after far too many years and spend a fair amount of time reading it (no surprise here). Lately I have read several books on Norman England and the early Plantagenets and reread Edwin A. Abbott’s Flatland, one of the first science fiction fantasies. Abbott also did a Shakespearean grammar, a book on St. Thomas of Canterbury, and a good deal of theology which I am getting to. In between, I have been discovering the Gnostics.
My new hobby is my movie collection. I haven’t counted lately, but it is somewhere close to seven hundred. I started with Shakespeare ( and yes, seven Hamlets is probably too much of a good thing), but have moved on to actors and directors that I like, Akira Kurasawa, Clint Eastwood, Peter O’Toole, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Quinn, Humphrey Bogart, etc. And yes, I have a fondness for westerns, vampire movies, and samurai flicks. The sins of my old age no doubt.
Memories about deceased members – I have been out of touch for far too long and don’t really know who among us is still standing. I shall have to hold this thought until I find out.
Memories of special events/occurrences, such as school dances and restaurants afterwards, spots events, band/choir, teachers, incidents in classes and library, locker rooms, hockey field, Rennebohm’s, the UW campus/Union, etc.
Well, let’s see. Off the top of my head, there was the night of one-act plays, one of which involved a kerosene lamp. Whoever had lit the thing didn’t know much about them and turned the wick much too high, which led to a portable bonfire and the distinct possibility of the flame going into the reservoir and exploding. The character, possibly Erika Schwenn, came in with the lamp, decided this might not be a good idea, and exited with it. Off-stage she handed it to Henry (I forget his last name but he was a couple of classes ahead of us, a jock, and a general-purpose schlepper for whatever was going on at school). My mother, who was in the audience, bellowed, “Get that out of here. It is going to explode”. She had grown up with kerosene lamps in rural Missouri and knew whereof she shouted. Henry ran down the hall into the parking lot (the play was in the little theater/choir room in the basement) and lofted the lamp towards the sky. As it reached its apogee, it did, in fact, explode.
On a more cheerful note, there was the pleasure of watching Peter Wolff taunt Mr. Mock in Algebra. Peter was, of course, bored out of his mind and would sit reading a comic book in the back of the room, paying no attention to whatever was going on. Mr. Mock would get progressively more annoyed. Eventually he would reach his limit, would fill a blackboard with the most difficult equation he could think of, and would yell at Peter to solve that. Peter would glance up, give us the answer, and return to his comic book. Five minutes of work on the board by Mr. Mock generally had the result of proving Peter correct.
I think my favorite, though, is when a particularly awful practice teacher in Miss Arveson’s class assigned Peter and me to defend the southern position on succession and slavery (the Civil War was pending). I went home and asked my father what one should read to get this perspective. He suggested three or four books, which Peter and I devoured over the weekend. On the day of the debate, we held forth with great gusto and you, my dear colleagues, voted almost unanimously that indeed the South had been justified in all it did. The look on that poor practice teacher’s face was wonderful. John Wayne had just saddled up to go after Black Bart and when the dust settled, Black Bart had won. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way and the poor schlep had absolutely no idea what to do about it or where to go next
I would like someday to visit Spitsbergen and Siberia and ride the full length of the Trans-Siberian Express from Moscow to Vladivostok.
My older daughter, Marita, is gainfully employed and making more money than I ever did. Her job is interesting, her boss meshuggah. She is Customer Relations Manager for a small public relations boutique in Newton, Mass. When IBM, for example, wants to publish a white paper, they contract with these folks, who do the research and write the text. IBM then publishes it under IBM’s imprint. Marita is the project manager on all these assignments, making sure the goods are delivered on time and that the customer gets what it contracted for. This is sometimes a challenge as the free-lance techies who do the work sometimes write brilliant answers to questions the customer did not ask. Marita deals with that and generally keeps the customers happy and coming back for more. She really wants to go back to school, take a PhD in English, and find a job where someone will pay her to read books and talk about them. Unfortunately, she bought a condo and now supports a mortgage. She is still with the same boy friend, whom I like a lot. One of these days, perhaps they will make it official.
My younger daughter, Eleanor, took a year off after high school and then matriculated at Skidmore College, where she has just completed her Sophomore year. She is off to Ireland at the end of August for a semester abroad and plans to complete a Psychology major when she returns. This probably means graduate school. I sometimes wonder whether tuition will end before I do. However, she makes the highest tier on the Dean’s List consistently and is running a cumulative average in the high 3.8’s. I guess I should be content with that.
Henry’s son, Nathaniel, was graduated from Beloit College and is now reported to be writing software somewhere in Madison. Both my nieces (Tom’s brood) have completed their graduate programs and are getting married shortly. Henry and Tom live where they have always lived and still have the same wives, something of a record in these wandering times.
I continue to work as a substitute teacher. My goal this summer is to resolve some long-standing issues with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and then apply for licensing as a teacher. I have added the qualifying exam in Middle School Humanities to my roster (ELA and History). In this economy and at my age, I can be reasonably sure no one will hire me, but it will be interesting trying. I did a three-and-a-half month cover a couple of years ago where I had three sections of the sixth grade for ELA (Writing and Grammar) and the same classes a second time for World Lit. We read Gilgamesh and parts of Genesis. I, at least, had a ball and concluded that kids are not as dumb as we give them credit for. I believe, firmly, that if one challenges them and handles it properly, they are capable of much more than the pabulum that passes for Young Adult literature and the tripe foisted on them by the schools. My goal, at present, is to teach the Iliad to the seventh grade and some serious Shakespeare to the eighth, or perhaps Aeschylus.
The other news is that I got married again last August. The eighth, in fact, is our anniversary. Paula is a Special Education teacher, and a good one. Unfortunately, at a time when job ads want a Bachelor’s degree and one year of experience (such candidates don’t cost much money), Paula has a Master’s in Special Ed and a second Master’s in Guidance along with fifteen years experience. She is, therefore, expensive, and probably unemployable in the current economy. Sigh!!!
We took two weeks in south Italy and Sicily, looking at Greek temples and Angevin cathedrals. This included a stay on Capri, an island in the Bay of Naples with a view across to Vesuvius where Tiberius spent the last ten years, or so, of his life. When I win the lottery, we are out of here and will retire there. A gorgeous spot. Also stops in Sorrento (Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, and Paestum), Taormina, Cefalu, and Palermo. Just south of Palermo is Monreale with a cathedral (1180 A. D.) that boasts arguably the world’s most spectacular mosaics. And yes, I still want to visit Spitsbergen and take the Trans-Siberian Express.
Wisconsin High School
55th Reunion – July 24 – 25, 2015
BIO: Howard Beale
Received: June 30, 2015
Good God, another five years gone by while I wasn’t looking. This time there is not a great deal new to report. Paula and I are still married which, in these parlous times, I view as an accomplishment. My older daughter (Marita) finally did marry Jim, the boyfriend of many years. He teaches Phys. Ed. in the Wellesley, Mass. public schools. She works two jobs to pay the bills while she gradually builds up a practice as a dog trainer. It seems to be going well and she occasionally talks of dropping one of the jobs. Number two daughter, Eleanor, was graduated from Skidmore with an honors degree in Psychology and Summa cum Laude on the record. Unlike many of her classmates, she walked out of school and into a job at Massachusetts General Hospital in a Psychology lab. She turns up occasionally as a co-author on a paper and is now starting to look at graduate schools for a Ph.D.
I continue on as a Substitute Teacher in the Sudbury, Massachusetts, public schools. I prefer History or ELA in the Middle School but go where the finger points. So far I have managed to avoid changing diapers in the Pre-School program though my luck may run out some day. I do pretty much everything in the K-8 system though I prefer Social Studies and/or ELA in the Middle School. I have even (gasp, shudder) done Phys. Ed,, though I do my best to avoid it. French and Spanish are interesting since my language is German. I mostly do one-day stands but occasionally cover a longer absence, most recently two weeks explaining exponents to the seventh grade. Now and then I need to fill and try to improvise in various ways. I occasionally show “Hansel and Gretel” in elementary Music. The kids aren’t old enough to know they aren’t supposed to like opera and so I sneak up on them with a piece sung in English for which they know the story. I have also introduced the seventh grade Ancient Cultures classes to Oedipus Tyrannus, which after 2,500 years still plays pretty well, masks and all.
In my spare time, of which there is far too little, I read, more non-fiction than fiction, trying to cover the stuff I should have read in college and didn’t. I have found a couple of fiction series, however, that I very much liked, which I commend to those with the time. One is the Baroque Trilogy by Neal Stephenson, a lovely romp through the second half of the seventeenth century including the quarrel between Leibnitz and Newton over which one invented the calculus, Peter the Great, John Churchill, William III, and Louis XIV in large roles and Edward Teach (the pirate) and Jack Ketch (the hangman) in smaller parts. I have also started a large series called the Song of Fire and Ice, the first volume of which is “The Game of Thrones”. I have not seen the television series as I don’t want to spoil my impressions of the characters, whom I find fascinating.
On a more serious level, I have been reading Augustine. I have gotten through the “Confessions” with the “City of God” yet to come. I don’t agree with him, but find him enlightening. Given his analysis of time as part of creation, I can understand why they don’t teach him in Sunday school. His thoughts on why one should avoid God’s creation as much as possible define him, I think, as a sick puppy. When I get through that, Aristotle is next. I also have read all three books by Snorri Sturluson (assassinated in 1241). His biography of Egil Skallagrimsson (the poster boy for the large, forceful Viking) is marvelous. At the opposite (English) side of Egil’s Saga, I read the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. All in all, I contrive to pass the time.
I will avoid politics, which I find largely loathsome, except to quote from Gilbert and Sullivan:
No, Frederic, it cannot be. I don’t think much of our profession, but, contrasted with respectability, it is comparatively honest. No, Frederic, I shall live and die a Pirate King.
The Pirates of Penzance, Act I
Wisconsin High School
60th Reunion – September 17, 2020
BIO: Howard K. Beale, Jr.
Received: August 15, 2020
38 Bartlett Street
Northborough, Massachusetts 01532
It is the evening of August 15 and once again I am trapped by the deadline but here goes. Bureaucratic stuff first.
#1 Daughter: Marita married the boyfriend who continues to teach Phys. Ed. in the Wellesley Public Schools. She has dropped one of her jobs and grown her practice as a dog trainer, though the current pandemic has made this a little more difficult. I like my son-in-law and think she picked well. They have no children and apparently like it that way. We have dinner now and then to my pleasure.
#2 Daughter: Eleanor is in her third year of the Ph.D. program in Psychology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Her research interest is in finding ways to predict the likelihood of suicide and she works at the local VA hospital. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people whom one would not suspect end up committing suicide and people who by rights should pack it in don’t. There seems to be no good way to predict which until after someone does or does not succeed in the attempt. She has acquired a boyfriend (her second) who is a tax lawyer. The first was a psychiatrist. I have asked why she got over someone in her field and went from that to a lawyer. There seems no answer to that conundrum. She has published some articles and a chapter in a book. It was amusing to see her as the lead author with her A. B. degree above her co-authors with their Ph.D.’s. She has collected her obligatory Master’s degree and in another three or four years should emerge as Doctor Beale.
Paula and I just celebrated our eleventh anniversary and look forward to many more. Her daughter is a lawyer and pediatrician in Virginia with three children and another on the way. Her son is an electrician in Nebraska with two more. But for the pandemic, we would be traveling about visiting them. The last few years have been difficult for Paula. She has had both hips replaced, rotator cuff surgery, and, in January back surgery. She turned sixty-five, got on Medicare, and fell to pieces. Don’t enter your golden years. They can be a drag.
I continue to substitute teach in the Sudbury schools and plan to continue in the fall, assuming that there are schools to which I can return. We seem to have handled the pandemic pretty well and I think the world of Governor Baker (Republican), unlike his idiot colleagues in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and other backward backwaters of our republic. I suspect we will have a mixed bag of in-school and remote learning. Full bore reopening seems both unlikely and beyond foolish. Given distancing, we have neither the staff nor the physical space to attempt normal classes. Picture, if you will, twenty-five second graders gathered together on the rug for Morning Meeting. Florida has just ordered their high schools to embark on full fall athletic schedules with sanctions if they don’t. Madness everywhere.
Theater and concerts have disappeared from my life for the foreseeable future. I do the grocery, bank, post office, and doctor’s appointment runs wearing my mask. Paula has been on Oxycodone for several years now and does not feel comfortable driving so that I do most of the schlepping. We both read a lot but I continue to buy books faster than I can read them. I will need to outlive my mother to get through them all. I continue to poke about in the ancient world. There is a new scholarly edition of Gilgamesh out which I much admire. It is one of the great stories. I haven’t gotten back to Augustine (sigh) but have read Quintus Smyrnaeus, who picks up where the Iliad leaves off and carries through to the Fall of Troy in quite Homeric style. My new favorite is a three-volume Studies on Homer and the Homeric Age by (wait for it) William E. Gladstone, yes that William E. Gladstone. In his day job, he was four times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, basically whenever Disraeli (a novelist) wasn’t during the second half of the nineteenth century. Why the man ever went into politics I shall never understand. That book would get him tenure in any Classics department in the known universe. The second volume taught me more about the Greek gods than I had managed to learn in a long lifetime. And I reflect, somberly, that we have a President who is incapable of reading a book, let alone writing one. Sic transit gloria mundi.
And that’s the news from Lake Woebegone, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.