You may be wondering how young high school graduate Sam Bean was faring after his promising launch out into the seeing and hearing world of adult responsibility. Granted, accolades were showered on him during those student years at the California School for the Deaf and Blind—and his accomplishments were, indeed, laudable.
Real life, however, does tend to put a different spin on dreams.
Can a poet really sell enough books of his own creation to raise the funds it would take to support himself? Would it provide for not only himself, but—as did happen soon afterwards with his marriage to Maud Woodworth in early 1921—also for a wife?
Thankfully, the Oakland Tribune persisted in its coverage of what seemed to be turning into “Sam’s saga” even after his graduation from the state school in Berkeley, California. One such report—accessible in the Tribune's November 2, 1920, issue for Ancestry.com subscribers here—mentioned that Sam had been “touring the state selling books of poetry” that he had written.
The conclusion of that particular report, though, had a curious twist to it, which made me think back to newspaper articles from Sam’s childhood. If you recall my search to find any story covering the true reason for Sam’s blind and deaf condition, you will remember my alarm at finding an entry in the San Francisco Call regarding yet another injury. At the time, I had remarked that it seemed as if Samuel Bean was a child who had become accident prone.
I realize the incident that befell Sam in 1920 most likely was the result of his inability to see all the details of his surroundings, leading to an unfortunate—and costly—mishap. But I couldn’t help remembering my observation about those earlier incidents. As much as Sam’s theme in life seemed to be “I can do anything you can do,” it makes me wonder if a seeing, hearing Sam would have taken that same unexpected tumble.
Word of a recent escape from drowning at a Los Angeles suburb experienced by young Bean has reached friends in the bay section. Falling from a wharf, Bean was rescued, but lost, however, a valuable gold watch presented to him at the time of his graduation at the blind school.