Hamilton's literature may refer to the undergraduates as students, but to custodian Bea Page, many of them are "my kids." Bea has worked at Hamilton for just over four years. She starts each day in Christian Johnson Hall, moving on to Wallace Johnson Residence Hall and Skenandoa Residence Hall at about 9 a.m. She spends most of her day in Skenandoa, and that's where she gets to know the students best. "I love my kids there," she says. "I treat them like my grandchildren, more or less."
Bea bakes cookies for the students and showers them with attention. She interacts with them as they come and go for class, and, in fact, has been known to buttonhole students on cold days and send them back upstairs for missing hats, coats or mittens! It's no wonder that one year a student, preparing to leave at the end of the year, introduced Bea to her mother as "our House Mother" and then enumerated all the ways that Bea enriched her life throughout the year. It's interactions like this that make Bea feel really good and not taken for granted. She's delighted to know that the pleasure that she gets in caring for the students is, in turn, appreciated. Her "kids" write her lots of note cards, and Bea keeps them all.
In 2006, Bea was working elsewhere locally and looking to make a change. Her long-time friend Rosie Ingalls in the Business Office (they've known each other since they were 7 or 8 years old) told her of an opening at Hamilton and encouraged her to apply. She did, and it's been a great fit ever since. "How time goes by. It doesn't seem possible," she says.
Bea lives nearby in Vernon Center. She has "three wonderful grandsons" and a daughter. Her two older grandsons, Kraig and Ryan, live with her, and her youngest grandson, Gerald, lives next door, with Bea's daughter and son-in-law. Bea helped bring up the boys, and she says it has been so gratifying to watch them grow from "itty-bitty things" to young adults. Her grandsons encouraged her to buy a computer, so Bea has entered the electronic age.
In addition to doting on her family, Bea likes to play Bingo. In fact, she says that if she weren't at Hamilton, she'd be home relaxing with her family, dreaming of travel — her budget and generosity to her family prevent that from being much of a reality — and going to Bingo every other night.
Bea is an exemplary employee: she treats the students like her own grandchildren; cares for the buildings for which she is responsible like she would her own home; and enjoys coming to work each day with a smile and a great attitude. If you haven't met Bea, stop by one of her three buildings and say hello!