For two years, Sally was a floor mate of a small cohort of us short girls living in Watson. I was first introduced to Sally by the late Candace Baier Beaulieu who figured that since I had a canary and some tropical fish in my room, I would enjoy the uniqueness of Sally who shared her quarters with one of those bull terriers like the “bullseye” dog seen in the “Little Rascals.” Candace was right. My canary “Peepster” occasionally escaped, and would sometimes fly over to Sally’s room near the lounge. Sally had a way of communicating with Peepster, and could chirp him back to my room and get him to voluntarily reenter his cage. One time, Peepster bolted out of my room when the door opened, flew across the hall, perfectly timed his entrance through the coed swinging bathroom door, and came to land on the shower curtain rod over a running shower with an unclad woman inside, and he quickly joined her to splash in the rain. She bolted and turned off the rain, but sodden plumage and all, he managed to get back up on the curtain rod to again to belt out an aria of pure joy. Sally heard him warbling from her room and decided to investigate. We spent the next quarter hour providing him with his own tropical paradise and singing along with him before escorting him back to my room. Sally was an introvert who struggled with depression and feeling like an outsider except with animals and a few of her Watson friends. After graduation, I headed to Cambridge, MA to attend the Radcliffe Publishing Procedures Course. I was mugged my first night in Cambridge, and spent the night in the Mt. Auburn ER. I remembered that Sally’s parents lived on Cape Cod, and tried to get in touch with them that night, but could only leave a message. A few days later, about the time of the Harvard Yard riots where a bus was overturned and the National Guard was deployed, Sally got in touch with me to offer me refuge. Still banged up from my mugging, I drove to the Cape the next weekend to her reclusive and historic family homestead. She introduced me to the dozen or so ravens that she was training on commission to pick up cigarette butts from the Boston Commons. The weekend was a lovely respite until she revealed that she was now trying to live off nature alone, and disclosed her designs for harvesting us a feast of day lilies, a member of the onion family, for us to enjoy for a final four course meal. “Final” became more than a figure of speech. My digestive system hit a transit record of approximately 23 minutes between ingestion of day lily blossoms to their emergence completely intact from below. By the time of our main course of sautéed day lily roots, we were both totally prostrate. I made it back to Cambridge the following day, but was considerably the worse for the wear. Radcliffe course leaders were not particularly understanding. Despite that, Sally and I continued to meet in Boston for the remainder of my not so great year there. Her trained ravens were very successful in picking up trash on the Boston Commons, but her funding ran out, and so did her spirits. Sally Beauchemin was a unique soul, and one I truly miss.
Ann Dickison ’70