Monday, March 19, 2007


Jerrold & Lorraine Beim

We were collecting pictures of my mother. I remember this one. It was Tucson. I couldn't think who these people were, but when my father said he thought there was a picture of the Beims, this one came to mind. It is. It was. They were.

Little pieces of things come back to me. Mother, father, a daughter about my age, two brothers. My mother had made quick and fast friends with her. My father did a job for him and was impressed with his greater knowledge of typography and publishing than my father's own training. They'd held some kind of meeting or event, social or political. Or both. Our mothers talked and as children we must have played, but I don't remember much of it. I was eight.

Jerrold Beim was impressed somehow with my brother, and I, vicariously, felt so honored. This writer, with his stature, watched my brother and listened to his tales of adventure and discovery in our desert neighborhood, and from this he came to write a book on him - "Eric on the Desert" NEW YORK, William Morrow & Co. 1953. And I was so proud. Later I would find it on the shelf in the library and want to tell the world, "This is my brother. This man wrote a book about him!"

I see now that it came out in 1953. But that was after. There's this great gulf before. They were there, and then they were gone. The family drove off to Mexico, all five. There was an accident. Three came home. Jerry and the boys, Seth and Andy--not their sister, and not Lorraine. That must have been in 1951. The citations read, "Lorraine Levey Beim, 1909-1951." I remember that they moved away, he started over, back East somewhere.

We moved, too, the other way. I took with me her dresses they'd cleaned and pressed and passed on to me. I remember their being so pretty and new-looking, starched and stretched over cardboards as they had come from the laundry. One was special--pale blue cotton, with a large white collar and generous lace. The elastic inside one sleeve rubbed my arm sore. Had it also rubbed hers? Or had she even had a chance to wear it?

1957. I'm not yet 14. We keep the newspapers stacked on the back porch till enough collect to tie and take in for recycling. I look through the pile. What am I looking for? I'm reading the obituaries. I come across one--Laura Ingalls Wilder, February 10, 1957, died at Rocky Ridge Farm at the age of 90. Or so I read now. But I'm still looking. Another one takes my breath away. Jerrold Beim. An auto accident. Another stinking auto accident. Does it say or do I just see it in my mind, a winding road, a dark and rainy night.

I trim these two I had torn out and place them on the table to let them know. My mother sees the one and tells me, "I'm so sorry to hear about your author, Laura Ingalls Wilder." But I'm stopped cold to have to be the one to show her that's not the one--it's Jerry's. I don't remember any more. Except thinking, "The boys--now what happens with the boys?"

I see an Andrew L. Beim has renewed copyrights on books by Jerrold and Lorraine Beim. Andy? Is that you?

By Lorraine Beim
Alice's Family, Harcourt Brace 1948
Benjamin Busybody, illus by Violet LaMont, Harcourt Brace 1947
Carol's Side of the Street, illus by Malman, Harcourt Brace 1951
Just Plain Maggie, illus by Barbara Cooney, Harcourt Brace 1950
A Loaf of Bread: The True Story of a Greek Boy under the Yoke of Nazi Terror! 1945
Sugar and Spice, 1947
Triumph Clear, Harcourt Brace 1946

By Lorraine and Jerrold Beim
Blue Jeans, illus by I.B. Hazelton, 1941
The Burro That Had a Name, illus. By Howard Simon, Harcourt Brace 1939
Igor's summer: a story of our Russian friends, illus by Kurt Wiese, H Wolff 1943
The Little Igloo, illus by Howard Simon, Harcourt Brace 1941
Lucky Pierre, illus by Howard Simon, 1940
Sasha and the Samovar, illus by Rafaello Busoni, Harcourt Brace 1944
Snow Hill, illus by Nicholas Panesis, 1942
Spotlight for Danny, illus by Corinne Malvern, Harcourt Brace 1943
Sunshine and Shadow, Harcourt Brace 1952
Two Is a Team, illus by Ernest T. Crichlow, Harcourt Brace 1945

By Jerrold Beim
Across the Bridge, Harcourt Brace 1951
Andy and the School Bus, illus by Leonard Shortall, Morrow 1947
Beach Boy, Harcourt Brace 1952
The Boy on Lincoln's Lap, illus by Tracy Sugarman, Morrow 1955
Country Fireman, illus by Leonard Shortfall, Morrow 1948
Country Garage, illus by Louis Darling, Morrow 1952
Country Mailman, Morrow 1958
Country School, illus by Louis Darling, Morrow 1955
Country Train, illus by Leonard Shortall, Morrow 1950
Danny and the Dog Doctor, illus by Edgar Levy, Morrow 1950
Eric on the Desert, illus by Louis Darling, Morrow 1953
The First Book of Boys’ Cooking, illus by Dick Dodge, Franlkin Watts 1957
Flood waters, illus by Don Sibley, Harcourt Brace 1956
Freckle Face by Anderson, Neil (pseudonym of Jerrold Beim), illus by Barbara Cooney, Crowel 1957
Jay's Big Job, illus by Tracy Sugarman, Morrow 1957
Kid Brother, illus by Tracy Sugarman, Morrow 1952
Laugh and cry: Your emotions and how they work, illus by Ray Campbell, Morrow 1955
The Lost and Found Ball, ilus by Ylva Kallstrom, Webster 1961
Rocky's Road, Harcourt Brace1953
Shoeshine Boy, illus by Louis Darling, Morrow 1954
Sir Halloween, illus by Tracy Sugerman Morrow, 1959
Smallest Boy in the Class, illus by Meg Wohlberg, Morrow 1849
The Swimming Hole, illus by Louis Darling, Morrow 1950
Thin Ice, illus by Louis DarlingMorrow 1956
Tim and the Tool Chest, illus by Tracy Sugarman, Morrow 1951
Too Many Sisters, illus by Dick Dodge, Morrow 1956
Trouble After School, illus by Don Sibley, Harcourt Brace, 1957
Trouble for Lucy
Twelve O’Clock Whistle, Morrow 1946
A Vote for Dick, illus by Don Sibley
With Dad Alone, illus by Don Sibley, Harcourt Brace, 1954
Who's Who in Your Family, illus by Mary Stevens, Franklin Watts 1954
Andrew Beim is my father. This was so interesting to me because I really dont know much about his side of the family, thanks for taking the time to write about them. I have started collecting books written by my grandparents. I will definitley have to look for a copy of "Eric on the Dessert". I recently saw a photo of my fathers brother sitting on a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Newark NJ which Im told was the inspiration for "The Boy on Lincolns Lap." Im sure my dad has plenty of stories and details about my family and the books he can tell you about.

Seth Beim
For Mary Smith, Seth Beim, or whoever can answer this! I work for a an Arts Education Center serving children living in poverty in Maine. Among other things, we teach creative writing and illustration. I have enjoyed reading about the Beims and their work, and I've also heard that they may have a connection to Maine (especially since Just Plain Maggie is about a Maine camp), but I've been unable to find out what that is. Did they live here or vacation here? Did Lorraine perhaps attend summer camp in Maine? Any help would be much appreciated, my email is
I am writing an article on the Beim family -- they lived in Yorktown Heights, New York, at one point, prior to the death of Lorraine and before living in wEstport. The Country Train and Swimming Hole take place in Yorktown -- probably others. Any help learning more about their time in Yorktown would be appreciated. Christopher Tompkins

My brother was best friends with Seth Beim. We were driving into Westport early the Friday Jerrold and Seth died, and my brother spotted their car upside down off a bridge on the north side of Cross Highway. My mother pooh-poohed the idea that my brother could have identified the Beim's car from a fleeting glimpse out a car window, but he was very good with cars and it turned out he was right. He was devastated to lose his friend Seth.

Colby Blodget
Could you please email me. Would be very interested in having a conversation. I am Seth's twin brother, Andy.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you!
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