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“Come into My Beedle Beat”

By Jan Beedle

I believe in living life to the fullest potential. As you come to know me, you will see that my life as a historian, genealogist, organizer, poet, floral arranger, herbalist, musician, politician, leader, speaker, writer, and above all…wife, mother, and grandmother and inquisitive person does not mean I sit on my duff for long. Research and involvement in any direction are my forte`.

Presently, I am compiling three books of one hundred seven already-written poems, a non-fictional historical rendition, and a historical romantic epic. The novel spans from the 1600s in Massachusetts to post Civil War days in Texas. I settled down enough eight years ago to pen a human-interest column for Miller Newspapers. I have published a historical column for the Springboro Sun (Times Community Newspapers) and an ongoing column, highlighting outstanding volunteers from Warren County in the Warren County Community Services Newsletter. Taking fourteen classes in “Writing about Your Life and Times” (repeatedly) at Sinclair Community College for Seniors, now referred to as the Lifelong Learning Center, motivated me to write about twelve hundred words every other day. Most of the students took the class as often as me. Kay Berg is a charismatic instructor, and has proven to be helpful. I wish I had the self-discipline in my MHS or college days that I have now. I led the Schuster Tour and Lunch session two quarters a year and in the past have taught other classes. “Examining Your Life…What is Life, Really?” was a five-week winter course and “Jan’s Idiot Genealogy Guide” ran for a spring quarter. While presenting seminars/speaking engagements on “Expanding the Mind; Extending Life,” I become as enlightened and enthusiastic as my audience. I try to instill in everyone, young and old, that a person CAN DO or learn whatever or overcome insurmountable obstacles he or she wants to do, with discipline, study and perseverance. I know – I have been there, done that. A positive attitude does not hurt.

A strong political/musical background reigned on the “Utter” side of the family, starting with Grandma Utter-Thomas, who played organ and accordion by ear. Her brother, Leonard, played piano by ear and sang with an early Middletown Barbershop Quartet. Uncle Arba Thomas, Grandma’s son, played flute with The Armco Band, directed by Frank Simon (Sousa’s assistant director before he formed his own talented group). He also performed intermittently for The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Dad played accordion, piano, and harmonica by ear, but excelled on the latter. He kept up with Herb Shriner, a renowned harmonicat in the 1950s. Mother tickled the ivory keys, my two sisters played piano, with June also playing violin, and Jenni the clarinet. Jenni took vocal lessons from Helen Gerber Ramsdell, and so did I. I also played piano and violin.

Herman Copp conducted the Middletown Youth Symphony in the early 1950s and June said she was in it in the 1940s. I am sure many of you played along with me in the violin section. Music remained a vital staple in my life until the late 1980s. I no longer participate, but now I can sit back and enjoy the efforts of everyone else.

We continue history by recording it as we go. Erma Bombeck used her position as a wife and mother to write her witty comments about everyday life, because she knew it best. With humor splashed hither and yon, she made it seem far from ordinary. If I need a boost, my personal library holds her special works that inject me with joy. I hope my nostalgic jaunts from the past and beyond encourage your mind to wander and share, because history has helped to mold us into who we are, what we stand for today, and influence the future of our children’s children. Let your hearts join the Beedle Beat.

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