Beverly Reilly began her career with McAllister Towing in 1974. Along the path of the 45 years she was with the company, co-workers who passed her way came to know what we, her Newington High School sisters recognized in our friend, Beverly, so many years before.
Back a long time ago when our high school years began so too did our friendship. What is it that draws nine individuals to one another? These brand spanking new freshmen entering the next phase of their education, carrying with them the uncertainty of the unknown through the doors of the staid brick building.
Some of the nine may remember our coming together originating with our class selections. Then again, maybe for some of us it was homeroom. Or was it gym class? What brought us to become such tight friends who saved adjacent tables in the cafeteria? Was it that we shared kitchen cubicles that first year we took home-economics? Were we forever linked when our renditions of Welsh Rarebit didn’t thicken?
How did we ever come to call ourselves, “The Babes”? An incongruous handle for nine high school girls when passing in the halls of Newington High brought a second look from the boys only when we slapped palms and gave our high-five sign of, “Hey Babe.”
Call it teenage whatever, our sorority bond, stifled study hall laugher, and incessant slumber party chatter. State Line Potato chips and onion soup dip uncontrollable tears as “A Summer Place” projected the angst of teenage love of Molly and Johnny onto the screen of our local movie theater. We set one another’s hair in bobby pins, danced with one another to our 45s and whispered shared confidences that with time, like the lyrics of a Paul Anka song, have faded from our memories.
We nine were the fortunate who brought our past into our future and while much of it may have been accomplished through gatherings organized by others, class reunions every five years and such, we Babes managed to see one another, if only sporadically, meeting for breakfast or lunch or sadly, the day in 2000 we came together at the services for one of our nine who had passed away.
Yet happier times overcome the sad. Three of us ride the ferry from Bridgeport across Long Island Sound and lunch with Beverly in Port Jefferson. She has arranged it all for us to be together. To think, one of the Babes is so important to a company, involved with human resources, acquisitions, insurance and finance at McAllister Towing working with the top executives in all aspects of the business. Beverly, the most easy-going and modest one of The Babes, named Vice President and Treasurer of McAllister Towing in 1991.
We, of course, are not surprised by our friend’s accomplishments. Beverly, we call her “Ferrier Babe,” to differentiate between the two Babes with the same first name, is our steadfast and loyal friend. After leaving our close knit circle and moving on she never wavered from that attribute and earned the respect and trust of her many coworkers she interacted with over the years.
“Go ask Beverly, she knows everything!” is a line in her obituary attributed to her co-workers whenever anyone at the company encountered a problem.
“She was so smart,” echoes from 60 odd -years before by more than a few of the nine who sat in Miss Dinmore’s United States History class and thanks to help from Beverly, passed the course.
Beverly’s funeral is held on a Monday morning, temperatures nearing 50. The luncheon following her service is at Indian Hill Country Club. Our 1961 Senior Class Banquet was held at this Newington landmark.
So much remains as it was that night, it is as if we are entering another place in time.
The white-clothed round tables are set for 8.
We Babes ask for a ninth seat.
Holding on together. Always holding on.
In memory of Beverly Ferrier Reilly
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