CHS Crow | Beatrice and Fred — ‘I wore a white uniform and had free booze’

This week, the CHS Crow met a future physician with a penchant for paradox, and retired seafarer who has presumably been in the same room as Alex Trebek at least twice. Say hello.


Curriculars: First-year medical student .Lives in: North Seattle Moved from: Virginia Is considering a move to: Capitol Hill

Life would be meaningless without _______ ?
Passion. I was going to say love but I wanted to pick something that was more all-encompassing than that. And I feel like having passions in life, ideally for people or things, I feel like as a complete picture, that’s what makes life meaningful.

'Was like -- 'Yeah, this is it'What brought you to Capitol Hill in scrubs today?
I spent the day at Harborview. I’m a medical student and I was auditing an advance trauma life support course. The course is for surgical and emergency residents … but every time they do it they let a couple of med students audit it. I had a bunch of ultrasounds done on me today — it’s good practice. Tomorrow I get to be in trauma makeup, like I’m an accident victim of some sort; I don’t know what I’ll be doing, I’ll find out tomorrow morning. The residents have to go through a patient scenario with me as their model.

… wow, how many ultrasounds did you have done on you today?
Definitely more than 10. It was fun. It was what’s called a fast exam.

What drew you to medicine?
I’ve wanted to do it for years, the first time I shadowed in a hospital I was like, ‘Yeah, this is it,’ and I think it’s just the best use of my intellectual abilities and my human abilities. I’ve always been a profoundly curious person about people and how people work physically and emotionally and intellectually. What I said in my personal statement for med school was that “Medicine will allow me to see and understand about the intricate and fascinating human body and the simultaneously terrible and beautiful human experience.”

What makes you want to move to Capitol Hill?
I like that’s its a very central location, you can get to everywhere from it. There’s lots of restaurants and bars, I love going out in this neighborhood. I think it’s beautiful, some of the old houses and cool buildings that are here. Yeah, it’s just a good location, I really like it. Lots of good late-night cafes for hanging out and studying.


Age: 76 Day job: retired from ‘working at sea’ as office manager, some political campaign work Extracurriculars: writing, Seattle Men’s Chorus Has lived on Capitol Hill: 21 years Moved here from: San Francisco, via Ohio.

Tell me a bit about your life at sea. 2014.04.12 CHS Crow portrait Fred - JO
I had such a great job when I was at sea, I was spoiled. Because I only worked, in the end I was working like seven months a year, and the rest of the time,  I got very good vacation benefits, and I had a condo in Maui, and I spent a lot of time out there. So I sort of never — when I retired officially, my job was phased out because of computers and stuff like that.

I was working on container ships. I was an office manager. Basically my job on any of those ships as I refer to it now is I was secretary of administrative aid to the captain, so the captain is the only person I answer to. So I basically took care of all the paper work, all  the legal work, all the information on you, personnel, the payroll, legal things, customs, immigration, and I knew the job was for me, I could do it in my sleep. I wore a white uniform and had free booze. I rarely paid, I almost never paid for any liquor on board. Never paid for any cigarettes — I used to smoke a lot — and I traveled everywhere, so, that really does spoil you.

How have you seen the industry change?
Now a container ship, they’ve reduced the crews to less than twenty. So if you’re not working you’re sleeping. And you’re  in and out of port so fast, so you can’t, say if you go to Japan, you can’t even afford to go to shore, you don’t have enough time. When I was going to sea, we were two and three days in port, before containers [were loaded and unloaded] … so you had plenty of time to go out visiting, seeing the cities we were in and so forth, meeting people, drinking and having fun.

What kind of changes have you seen in the gay community over your lifetime?
The whole idea that having random sex in the 80s and 90s might kill you, that’s changed a lot.

Another thing, friend of mine, who is young, on the second date he was out with a guy and the guy said to him, “Well, what’s your position on having kids?” In the 60s and 50s that wouldn’t even have occurred to us. Because, number one, you couldn’t get married. And number two, gay people weren’t living that life. It’s like — “What! Me have a kid!?” It’s like someone said: “If you have a kid you should never ask yourself the question — ‘Should I go home from work, or should I go to the bar?'” And now it’s more of a, becoming a family thing.

Tell me about a great moment you’ve experienced.
I’ve done Jeopardy, in the 90s. Won $22,500 in one day, back before the value of the board had been doubled. I lost the next day, but I didn’t care: I’d won once. That was, that was a great moment, to win twenty-two five.

Previously on CHS Crow:

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3 thoughts on “CHS Crow | Beatrice and Fred — ‘I wore a white uniform and had free booze’

  1. Fascinating lives, stories and insights! I’m glad she’s a doctor for the right reasons, sounds like she’ll be a great one. Thanks!

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