Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Carel P. Beernink; Teacher extraordinaire
When I was a boy at St. Paul's School, in Brooklandville, Maryland, I studied German (and soccer) under the tutelage of one Carel P. Beernink. Herr Beernink was a member of the Dutch Underground in WWII, and I have always believed that he was an heroic figure, and I am certain that he was active in some dangerous clandestine activity. My take on him was that he had seen and participated in situations that put him in great peril. His demeanor, however, would never lead one to know of these escapades. He, myself, and another idiot, called "Fritz", believe it or not, were the precious cargo of Mrs. Fritz, who was clearly not very observant, and me, very observant, but keeping it to myself, so that Fritz became the butt of many deserved, but somewhat unkind treatments. In any event, to still the inane chatter that often spewed forth from Fritz, Herr Beernink and I, by mutual but unspoken consent, decided that it was most preferable to me (and surely to Herr Beernink) that I would immediately upon entering the car, ask for an installation of the limitless adventures of Captain Seafood (Herr Beernink's device for stilling Fritz and and telling the incredible and sometimes hair-raising real adventures that Herr Beernink endured at the hands of the Nazis.) To show just how cavalier a disciplinarian Herr B was, there came a day when Fritz was more obnoxious than usual. On that day, Fritz decided to kick the back of Herr Beernink's seat, repeatedly, until Herr B jammed on the brakes, opened the door, and left Fritz all alone for the mile or so walk home. Word had it, that his mother was quite thankful. As for me, Herr B and I often reminisced on the occasions that we came into contact with one another, always getting a hearty laugh at just the thought of Captain Seafood, and the idiot Fritz! In later years, we enjoyed World Cup soccer, and he always complimented me on my fine left foot (which really wasn't that great).He has gone on to the great cup match in the sky, and I am indebted to him to this day. Hic finis est.