I knew Ann, just barely Brenda (I wish I had known her more), and I got a little inside glimpse of Mr. Beatty, because when you’re small he looks awful big. I have a couple of stories that show there was a different side of Mr. Beatty. I got to know it, I think, because he probably thought I was going to turn out successful, but it shows he wasn’t that good at character judgment. As I was going through school, I never knew him. Eventually, as I got into high school, we started talking a little bit on the side. I don’t think I even told Ann about this. I actually dated Ann for about two days, until she found a better looking guy down the street. And I was too short anyway.
But I thought it was strange, it was the first time anybody with any authority had shown me any attention. And, as it turned out, I really got to like him although I can’t say I got to know him. I just got some personal insights because of the way he treated me.
One of the things was, I used to go by his house late at night and I had this hellacious Tarzan yell. And sometimes It was pretty late. And I always thought, boy, he’ll never know who that was. One day we were on the football field and we were doing some exercising—I think it was the “bicycle,” or something—I let out a big Tarzan yell, and everything got kinda quiet. I looked around and there he stood. I think he probably knew who it was anyway, doing the Tarzan yell.
There were a couple of things, I wrote them down so I wouldn’t forget them. He was a basketball fan, as has been mentioned. He let me have the key many times during the summers to the basketball court. And I thought that was pretty nice of the fellow. I think some of the best times I ever had as a kid in school was on that basketball court. I think he had a history of doing that, allowing the kids to get in the gym during the summertime.
Dad [G. C. Fisher] had Mr. Beatty, and I think he also had Mrs. [Alice David] Hames, so, boy, those guys taught a lot of people. But there was a thing that Dad told me about Mr. Beatty that—I never knew whether to believe Dad or not, as a matter of fact—but according to Dad, he was going to school at the time they went from 11 to 12 years, and Dad was not supposed to go to the 12th year for some reason or other, I don’t remember how the story went, but he was such a good football player they didn’t want to lose him. And so Mr. Beatty saw [to it] that Dad was able to go to that 12th year, and he ended up actually with a football scholarship, maybe because of that 12th year, I don’t know. But, as Dad would do, he lasted through one football season and dropped out of school.
But there was a side to Mr. Beatty I wanted you guys to know about that, I think in his later years he would show to a lot of people. And maybe some people other than me would see his good side. There was a tender side that he would let out when you were alone with him. And I had a couple of occasions to be alone with him—they weren’t disciplinary things though. So, anyway, if anyone here has some of those stories, I think we’d all like to hear them because a lot of us, I think, still remember him as that principal, but there was a man behind that, and I got to see him and I’m thankful for that.
During life, I always wanted to see the good side of people, even if I’d just had a fight with a guy, or something, so that’s probably the best thing I learned from Mr. Beatty: look for the good side. Don’t lie about the bad side of somebody, even if it’s your dad, but look for the good side, and remember it.