Get to know the characters of the Beany Malone series!
Catherine Cecilia Malone, known as Beany to family and friends. Named Beany as a baby, as Johnny was unable to pronounce her name and called her "Baby," which sounded something like "Beany." Beany was the doer and the holder-together of the Malone family. Whether it be cooking the family's meals or attempting to mend the broken dreams and hearts of her family and friends, Beany was the most well-meaning and practical of her family. Although often disdaining it, Beany was considered the capable one, always able to figure out a plan to accomplish an objective. Although a mere sixteen, Beany was the "little mother" who sat at the head of the table pouring coffee and filling empty plates. "Her eyes weren't the violet blue of (her oldest sister) Elizabeth's, but a gray-blue shadowed by short but very thick eyelashes. Her 'roan' hair hadn't the golden high lights of Elizabeth's, but it had a soap-and-water, a well-brushed shine. Beany's prettiness was of the honest, hardy variety." . . . ."Father always said about Mary Fred's and Beany's eyes, 'It's an old Irish custom to put blue eyes in with a sooty finger and then shake the finger over the nose for a few freckles'." (Only Mary Fred's freckles, Beany noticed, weren't as bold as hers.)" "'Beany is so capable,' everyone said. . . . But doggonit, when you were a high-school sophomore and your heart's eyes always followed one certain boy down the hall, it wasn't enough to be tagged as capable. . . "
Beany is a person whom you love and with whom you empathize as she stumbles into so many awkward situations simply because she is well-meaning and good-hearted. She has a stubborn, determined streak in her which you can see in her squared jaw and quick Irish temper. She is endearing in her sheer imperfect ways for her earnest nature makes the reader identify with her through every experience. When Beany is mistreated or emotionally injured, so is the reader. When she is happy and her cause is fulfilled, the reader rejoices. As the other characters are described, most will be intermingled with their relationship and relatedness to Beany. (Height: five feet five inches.)
(Beany's Brother) "Johnny was eighteen. He was tall and thin, with a light-footed grace and a shock of curly black hair. Beany, the most practical of all the Malones, was always scolding him about not getting his hair cut. To which Johnny always retorted, 'Beany, my pigeon, a genius is supposed to be long-haired.' But it was Johnny's smile that set him apart from his fellow men. It wasn't only that it revealed such a perfect set of teeth that the Malone dentist said once he'd like to hire Johnny to sit in his waiting room and smile. His smile had that rare and heart-warming quality of making you one with his plans; it was appealing and gently apologetic. At Harkness High, where Beany was a sophomore and Johnny a senior, other students said it was Johnny's smile, as much as his ability for writing, that melted the grumpiest teacher." Johnny was well known for buying huge quantities of any item that was needed in the household. Though bemusedly unaware of his surroundings at times, Johnny had the ability to capture the heart of most anyone. A born journalist, Johnny could transform his reader to any time or place in his prolific writings.
Johnny is the boy whom every reader would love to have for a brother, a friend . . . or perhaps a boyfriend. His slightly unreliable ways are related solely to his ability to immerse himself in his writing and other projects. Always with a "cause," Johnny is lackadaisically driven (if possible) to realize his dreams. Those who surround him are frequently caught up in his genius and always forgiving of his absentmindedness (or "snows-of-yesteryear look"). Six feet tall.
Mary Fred Malone
(Beany's sister almost three years older than Beany.) ". . . the most notable thing about Mary Fred Malone was her exuberance, her sparkle, her 'get-up-and-git,' as Mrs No-complaint Adams (the housekeeper) put it. Whenever Mary Fred came into a room she brought a quickening lift. Girls always said 'Mary Fred, you've got to come to the party. It's never so partyish without you.' "
"Mary Fred wasn't as lovely as Elizabeth. Her hair missed that golden glint and was just a thick mop of curly brown hair. Her eyes weren't violet blue, but just blue eyes that twinkled with good humor, flashed with temper."
". . . Mary Fred wasn't as capable, as soberly dependable, as Beany. She was impulsive and generous, vehement and loyal. " 'Old bubble-and-bounce Mary Fred,' "Johnny always called her."
Mary Fred has the fortitude to withstand most any situation and is often the "ear" to which Beany can vent her frustrations. As an older sister, Mary Fred is not always sympathetic and occasionally advises (sometimes scoldingly) Beany (or "Beaver" as she is known to call her) to do the opposite of her proposed plan. Mary Fred can also be the most sympathetic and encouraging of the Malones as Beany struggles to achieve her goals.
Mary Fred is, perhaps, best known for her love of horses. Throughout the series, Mary Fred owns Mr. Chips, Miss Goldie and Sir Echo and has numerous struggles which involve the ownership of these horses. An accomplished horsewoman, Mary Fred frequently participates in horse shows, typically bringing home a first place ribbon.
Beyond her involvement with horses, Mary Fred's greatest legacy is her meat loaf. Johnny and Mary Fred have numerous tiffs regarding Mary Fred's frequent preparation of meat loaf leading to the moment that Johnny says, "When I get married, I'm going to put in the bride's wedding vows: 'I promise to love, honor, and obey, and never let a meat loaf darken the oven.'"
(Father of the Malone children, a widower and single parent, before Adair's appearance.) A man of strong values, and a faith in the beliefs and integrity of his children. Johnny referred to him as our on-again off-again gone-again father. The head of the household was often absent due to his business as the Editor of the Denver Call. Martie Malone led the family in making the Malone home open to any and all who were in need of assistance or encouragement. "It was more usual than not for the telephone to ring . . . and for Martie Malone to say, 'Put another plate on' I'm bringing someone home.' "
"Her father was just an older and more weathered edition of Johnny. He was tall and had the same dark eyes. Only his were bordered by a network of lines. Beany remembered that, as a child, she had thought they resembled the lines for playing ticktacktoe. His hair, like Johnny's, was thick and unruly, and was peppered with gray at the temples."
"Martie Malone had been a court reporter as well as a sports writer before he became city editor of Denver's afternoon paper, where he now wrote the editorials which a hundred and seventy thousand subscribers discussed over dinner tables and in street cars, and which school children gave reports on in their Current Events classes."
Mr. Malone's views on raising children were stated in the following passage of Meet the Malones, "Father looked at them all, then at Ander and at old Emerson Worth, and he smiled with appealing helplessness. 'It's times like these that are tough on parents,' he said. 'I ache to give Mary Fred the money for her horse, and get Johnny out of his mess and say, 'Beany, hop to it and get what you need.' It'd give me the same pleasure it gives a hen to spread her wings over her chicks. But I can't manage it, and my reason tells me it's a blessing I can't. Their mother and I believed that they'd have no chance of growing if they were always protected.'"
" . . . Martie Malone, always met discouragement and disappointment smilingly, almost jovially. And that victory always sobered him. As though the fighter in him was so braced for losing that he found triumph unsettling."
(Oldest sister) "Before Elizabeth married she had gone a year to the university. She had been strenuously rushed by every sorority and pledged by the "prominent" Delts. She had been chosen freshman escort for the Homecoming queen. And, before the year was out, she had been married under crossed swords to Lieutenant Donald McCallin. But now the war was over. Soldiers were returning. But Elizabeth was still waiting for Don to return from overseas.
"Elizabeth was lovable and loving and so lovely! Oh, why couldn't I, Beany often thought, have hair that makes a shining aureole about my face (as they say in books)? Why couldn't boys send me violets and say they were pale compared to my eyes?"
Dear Elizabeth. Gentle and loving yet strong. More loyal to her husband than seems possible. As her beloved Don returns from the war, Elizabeth sat devotedly at his bedside as the doctors determined the status of his wounded leg. ". . .Everyone else had been so shocked, so grieved at the thought of his leg being amputated at the knee. But not Elizabeth. Beany would never forget her luminous face as she reported, 'He'll live. The doctors got the infection in time. He'll live, and that's all that matters.' "
Little Martie Malone
(Elizabeth's three year old son) . . . "Little Martie's hair was three shades lighter than his mother's, and curled about his face like an angel's on a Christmas card. Ever so often the Malone family would gird themselves to get those curls cut off. After all, they didn't want to make a sissy out of him! Once Johnny had even got him as far as Charlie's barber shop on the boulevard. But Johnny brought him back, his fair fluff of curls intact. 'Charlie, himself, wasn't there,' Johnny excused. 'And little Martie and I didn't vibrate to those slap-dash helpers.' "
"It was always surprising that anyone with as beatific an expression as Little Martie's could get in as much trouble as he did. It was always surprising, too, when little Martie spoke. He didn t talk a baby-talk jumble, but with a slow, feeling-his-way accuracy. 'I...like...these,' he said slowly, reproachfully, when Beany pried the demolished roses out of his fingers."
Mrs. No-Complaint Adams
(Part-time housekeeper.) "Mrs. No-complaint Adams, who gave the Malones the last half of every day to 'wash, iron, and cook them,' was never grim about ten minutes extra if she was ironing Johnny's sport shirts. But then Mrs. Adams was partial to the menfolks in the motherless Malone household. Little Martie she referred to fondly as 'the little mister.' And as for Martie Malone, father of the Malones! Mrs. Adams was sure that if the president at Washington would just read Martie Malone's editorials in the Morning Call, he would be entirely fit to cope with all the world's problems. . . . They called their housekeeper Mrs. No-complaint Adams because it was her proud boast that she had 'worked out' for seventeen years and had never had a complaint."
"Mrs. No-complaint seldom went so far as their front door when the knocker sounded. She d go to the front hall and yell, 'Come on in...the door isn't locked. Who'd you want? Beany? Well, yell upstairs and see. A body can never keep track of who's in and who's out.' "
Mrs. Socially Prominent Adams
"...The next-door neighbor to the south (of the Malones) was also a Mrs. Adams. The Malones differentiated by calling her Mrs. Socially-prominent Adams. The society page never missed mentioning one of her teas, luncheons, or committee meetings." The aunt of Mary Fred's beau, Ander Earhart.
The boy next door. Johnny's best friend. Always faithful and loyal to the Malones. Son of Judge Buell. Kind hearted and principled. Slow to anger. "Carlton Buell, with his stubby blond hair, his shy, unassuming grin, was a comfortable person. 'Don't tell any of the teachers my father is a judge,' he used to warn Johnny, 'or they'll expect me to be smarter than I am.'" Later worked as program director of Lilac Way, a community center for disadvantaged children. Carlton was often seen rounding up paraphernalia for Lilac Way's baseball team or helping the young Lilac Way boys (the Bombshells) secure lawn-mowing jobs in the neighborhood. Always generous yet firm with the often pilfering natures of the boys.
"He walked with an easy stride. His blond crewcut would, before the summer was over, be lighter than his ruddy, tanned face. She had seen him so often with her brother Johnny, who was tall and lanky, that she had always thought of Carlton as short and stocky. But he wasn't." (Five feet, eleven inches.)
(One of Beany's two closest friends) Soft spoken, delicate Kay. Blonde ("taffy-colored hair") and fair and loyal to Beany through thick and thin. Shyly interested in Beany's brother, Johnny. A bit wistful (but never jealous) for the warmth and security of the Malone family. More mature than her own mother, flighty Faye. Very artistic, tender and caring. The artist of most school posters. "All during Beany s sophomore and. . . . her junior year, at Harkness, she and Kay had shared a locker, confidences, note paper, lunches. They had double-dated on weekends." ". . . Kay, who knew Beany s dreams as well as she knew her own. . ." Always ready to lend a hand when Beany needed it. Beany was very protective of her dear friend, Kay.
(one of Beany's two closest friends) Childhood friend of Beany's whose father became and oilman when Miggs was living in Oklahoma. The legend of Beany and Miggs' relationship is as follows:
"(Beany's) mother and Miggs s mother had given birth to girl babies at the same hospital on St. Patrick s morning almost seventeen years ago. The two women had occupied the same room. They had planned to leave the hospital with their two baby girls the same day. Beany knew that part of the legend too?"
"Katie had to come home with Mother because it was snowing so hard that her husband phoned and said he couldn't get the car through the lane from their farm to the highway.' They had never called Miggs's mother 'Mrs. Carmody'; it had always been 'Katie.' "
"'And it kept snowing night and day," Mary Fred filled in, 'and so Katie stayed on here. And lucky she did, or you d probably have kicked the bucket, what with Mother coming down with something the day after they got home. I suppose it was a virus, because she ran a high temperature, and her milk dried up, and you yelled like a banshee' I remember that...' "
"'Oh, you don't any such thing. You were only three.' "
"'When events make an indelible impression on you, you can remember even earlier than that,' " Mary Fred said firmly in the voice of a psychology major.
"'And so Katie nursed me, along with her own baby,' Beany said."
"'And saved your life," Mary Fred reminded her. 'Because you couldn't take any of the formulas the doctor tried on you, and you began shriveling up.' "
Untouched and somewhat embarrassed by her family's wealth, Miggs was thoughtful and quiet. She lived and dressed simply taking pleasure in her love of animals and her friendship with Beany and the Malone family. . . . "Miggs's hazel eyes were set in an oval face that wore an all-the-year-round tan, and her dark hair was sun-bleached at the edges from being outdoors so much of the time. She never wore jewelry, and often forgot lipstick.
Dulcie Lungaarde, whose taste ran to bright hues of orange, purple, and green, was always scolding Miggs. "You oughtn't to wear those dishwater browns. They make you look all of a piece."
And often a student at Harkness would say to Beany, 'I suppose your rich Miggs Carmody lives in a swanky country place.' To which Beany always answered, 'She lives in an old made-over farmhouse. Once her father rented a posh penthouse, but Miggs and her mother were both miserable in it. Mrs. Carmody likes to raise chickens and grow strawberries, and you know how Miggs is. She's up earlier every morning than any farmhand, milking the cow and taking care of Mary Fred s mare and colt, and a whole raft of rabbits that she keeps for Andy Kern s little brothers because their landlady and their father wouldn't let them keep them at home. Of course, there was only a pair to start.'"
"The Carmodys lived on a small farm out beyond the university. Miggs, like Mary Fred, was a horsewoman. But then Miggs had a way with all animals. It was in the Carmody stable and the Carmody pasture that Mary Fred kept the beautiful Miss Goldie (though she was registered as Golden Miss) and her colt."
"Mary Fred took loving care of both mare and colt, as did Miggs and her mother. Sometimes Beany had a left-out feeling when Miggs and Mary Fred talked of three-gaited stakes and maiden jumpers, for she shared neither their knowledge nor their enjoyment. Miss Goldie with her gentle topaz eyes was the one piece of horseflesh that Beany 'cottoned' to. 'To think I'd have a sister that was such a scaredy-cat around horses,' Mary Fred lamented."
(New stepmother to the Malone children) Martie's new, artistic wife. Of a more petite and slender build than her stepdaughters. Age when introduced: 36.
Martie Malone spoke fondly of Adair in his first description of her: "'Never ask a man what a woman looks like, especially, if he's in love with her. Because, of course, she's beautiful. I thought of bringing a picture of her, but none of them looks like the real Adair. She laughs a lot. She's warm and generous. She's adaptable, she'll fit right in here. You couldn't help but love her. . . .'"
"The new and youngish stepmother of the Malones was a portrait painter." "Their new stepmother, Adair, tried hard but, as she herself admitted, she was more deft with a paint brush than a mixing spoon." Although Beany had a rocky introduction to Adair(mistaking her for the Tres Jolie woman with Mary Fred's cosmetics) and was somewhat fraught with resentment toward her new stepmother, she and her siblings grew to love the warm and kind Adair. . .
When Beany's father had first described their stepmother-to-be to her stepchildren-to-be, he had said, "Adair's easy to look at and easy to laugh with."
"They found her easy to be serious with as well. Her dark eyes were warm and responsive. This morning they looked large and heavy in her oval face, and Beany realized that Adair, too, had lain awake last night until her stepdaughter returned. Yet, like Beany's father, she was neither prying nor condemning."
Beany said impulsively, "You're sure swell, Stepmom."
Adair's smile was a little tremulous. "You're pretty swell yourself, Beany..."
Beany's first romance. Undeserving as he may have been, Beany fell captive to Norbett's neediness for an honest, caring friend. Beany was compelled to save Norbett from himself and from those who misunderstood him. Both of Norbett's parents were killed when he was very young and the responsibility of the boy was dropped upon his relatively unfeeling uncle and aunt. An excerpt from Beany Malone showing some of Norbett's less endearing, yet most prominent show-off qualities, "...And Martie Malone was viciously berating Norbett's uncle, N. J. Rhodes, safety manager, for his indifferent enforcement of traffic laws. It was this uncle and his wife with whom Norbett made his home at the big Park Gate Hotel.
Norbett was still at Harkness High and was vindictively bitter and resentful about being there. Norbett's enemies - and unlike Johnny he had a goodly number - said he had been so busy being a big shot his senior year that he had overshot himself and failed to graduate. Norbett was school reporter for the Tribune, rival paper of Martie Malone's Call. During the winter, when he had covered a ski meet and had been overanxious for a good picture shot, he had climbed a high ledge and slipped and torn a ligament in his ankle. He had missed many chemistry classes because the chem lab was on third floor. . . . ("Old show-off Norbett," Mary Fred always said. "Old hot-stuff himself!")
In the drugstore Norbett had been just a moody, studious, too-thin boy of eighteen or nineteen in a loud sport jacket. But in his red flash of car he took on a reckless, man-about-town swagger. He shot out from the curb. He jabbed a perilous fender-grazing course through the traffic headed for the football game.
"Be careful, Norbett," Beany cried out once, as he barely missed an elderly woman, carrying two bulging sacks of groceries.
"Pedestrians have eyes and legs," he said. "What's to hinder them from being careful?"
(Beany's second romantic interest). Son of police Captain Kern. Sweet, reliable, patient and funny Andy. Always signed his notes to Beany, "Stay as sweet as you are." Often referred to her as "Knucks" and "Doll." Andy was always comfortable to be around - never pushed a serious relationship and always "kept it light" in the romance department (no more-thanning expected from Andy). Andy was a steadying force in Beany's life after her topsy-turvy relationship with Norbett.
Beany described Andy to Mary Fred as, "...a born comedian - without even trying. He ushers at the Pantages. He calls it the Pant. And the manager's name is Mr. Puffer' and it's so funny the way Andy puffs and pants when he says, 'Now Mr. Puffer at the Pant. . .' And you know how the French for 'I adore you' sounds just like, 'Shut the door.' Well, Andy knows that phrase, and Madame asked him how he knew that and nothing else, and he said?" Beany's blush deepened, "'It comes easy when I look at Beany.'"
(Beany's friend, Andy's younger sister.) Having had polio as a child, Rosellen was restricted to either wheelchair or crutches. With a warm and giving heart, Rosellen was the soft spot in the hearts of both her brother Andy as well as the tough Captain Kern (her father). Her tinkling laughter and beaming, smiling face lit up any room. Beany thoughts on Rosellen: "...She was fifteen and she seemed both younger and older. She had both the young delight of a child of five, the sober gravity of a woman of fifty."
Brash, brassy and pretty Dulcie, friend of Beany. Dulcie was a ponytail bouncing, hip swinging carhop at the Ragged Robin whom Beany somewhat took under her wing, yet was often frustrated by her lack of sensitivity to most people. Dulcie tended to rub people the wrong way, particularly girls! She was best known for her liberal use of makeup, her ponytail that was the color of burnt sugar, and her tendency to be a "more-thanner" (More-thanning was the term that represented a girl's follow through of amorous affection.)
"...Dulcie in her red jacket, and her cheeks almost as red from the cold wind, and her lips even redder, because of lipstick wielded generously." Her father squandered their already limited funds by involving himself in unproductive uranium projects. Although she had a propensity for bragging on her skills in sewing, dating and carhopping, Dulcie did have a soft side and a somewhat variable heart of gold. Her own shame of her home and background often brought Beany to her rescue.
Writer of the "Dear Eve Baxter" column in the Denver Call. "The most popular column in the morning Call, which also carried Martie Malone's, was always referred to as the 'Dear Eve Baxter.' This half-page was made up of letters to Eve Baxter and her answers."
The following is the first description of Eve Baxter upon Beany's first meeting: "Eve Baxter sat at a large, roll-top desk. Beany had expected to notice the clothes which a much-quoted columnist would be wearing. But she didn't. It was only afterward that she remembered how a frilly, white something at the neck had broken the severity of Eve Baxter's gray, nubbiny wool.
Beany noticed first the alert, impatient, even jerky movements of Eve Baxter's head, her hands. Though the darkest of dark glasses hid her eyes, Beany could feel their flashing keenness. Would they be the dark blue that went with red hair? . . . Or maybe brown like Norbett Rhodes's? . . .
Eve Baxter's short red hair was lightly flecked with gray. Like the cinnamon and sugar mix they used on cinnamon toast, Beany thought. It had a wiry and unruly vigor, as though it did its own deciding which way to swirl, regardless of hair styles."
". . .(when) the seasoned newspaperwoman, Eve Baxter, had been confined to her home with an eye ailment, Beany had started helping her. She would drive over to Eve's house in her brother's jalopy, read the letters aloud to her employer, and take down the answers in her school shorthand. Eve Baxter even greeted her, 'Hello, my eyes,' and often said, 'You've got a good head and heart for solving problems, child.'"
Description of Eve Baxter's office: "It was a room with a dual personality. The part of the room where Eve Baxter and Beany worked was businesslike, with large cluttered desk and files and comfortable, mannish, leather chairs. But the alcove off the room was sheer femininity. Ruffled curtains and bedspread of pale green taffeta. Wallpaper with a lacy flower pattern in it. An array of cut-glass perfume bottles on the dressing table."
(Eve Baxter's maidservant) ". . . the elderly housekeeper, named Araminta, in ruffled cap and apron, open the door for her. It was always like something out of an English novel to have Araminta say, Come in, Miss Beany. Let me take your coat, dear. Miss Eve is expecting you.'
She supposed Araminta was what you called a faithful family retainer. After Beany's coat was carefully hung on the hall tree, Araminta said, "'Come, dear, I'll show you upstairs.'"
..."It was a feud of long standing between employer and employee. Araminta insisted that coffee was ruinous to a woman's disposition and complexion. She served Miss Eve tea instead. "When I do browbeat her into making coffee," Eve Baxter often grumbled to Beany, "I swear she puts a geranium leaf or a dash of nutmeg in it."
"This morning, as usual, when Araminta departed, Beany hurried down to the old-fashioned kitchen and put on a percolator of coffee. She carried it up to Eve Baxter in the large sunny upstairs room."
(Mary Fred's primary romantic interest) Although destined to become a doctor, Ander "still entered and won calf-roping contests. He talked with a soft drawl and walked with a cowboy s rolling gait. His face was always tanned, and a myriad of sun wrinkles framed his eyes. His hands were slim-fingered, strong and capable; his eyes probing and alert." Though sometimes bossy toward Mary Fred, he offered her a balance for her impetuous nature, particularly as it related to her involvement with horses. Their mutual love of horses brought them together and sustained their relationship.
Journalist of days gone by. A philosopher who was of ill health and wandering mind. "...Emerson Worth, past his eightieth birthday, was often too vague and maundery to fill in the dates and facts that Johnny needed. . . . .Emerson Worth was one of the builders of the city, a once nationally known newspaperman. But, outliving his usefulness, he had been a bitter and defeated old man until Johnny had said, 'Emerson, I'll help you write your book. Just spout to me and I'll put it on paper.' Thus the book was begun. . . An old man dreaming dreams and a young man seeing visions. . . . It had been Johnny's idea to hang the book together with items out of old newspapers and then to fill in with the story Emerson recounted. It was Johnny's dream that Emerson's dream be fulfilled." "Emerson Worth (often) quoted from the man for whom he was named " 'The highest price you can pay for a thing is to get it for nothing.' That's the trouble with this generation; they want everything. . .'"
Irish cousin of the Malone family. Initially misunderstood, eventually appreciated.
The following excerpt is Beany's initial introduction to Sheila. After much anticipation for the welcoming of a lonely, frightened, shy, love-hungry girl from Ireland, Beany was thrown for a loop-and did not camouflage her feelings well: " . . .anyone so short and stocky should never wear a dress which fitted snugly and with a drape effect at the side. The dress was blue (basement blue, Mary Fred always called that shade of bright, deep blue). And the boxy, short coat over the dress should have been worn with a pencil-slim skirt. But it was her hair, her black hair done up in a mass of little sausage curls, that made Beany sum her up and dismiss her as gruesome.' "
"There was no wistfulness, no lonely ache in those eyes that Beany had been so sure would be blue or gray like the mists over Ireland. There was only defiance that seemed to proclaim, "I don't care whether you like me or not."
"But you, you aren't Sheila McBride, are you?" Beany gasped.
"Yes," the voice said shortly. That one word was in itself proof that the speaker had come from Ireland. It was "yiss" as though it had two, maybe three 's's on it.
Beany fought desperately to recover her poise, to re-shift her mental images. But each look made her heart sink deeper. It wasn't only the blue dress (But oh, those blue glass earrings!) Maybe Uncle Matthew had bought her that dress, thinking sequins were pretty.(But oh, those sausage curls!) Yes, maybe some clerk had sold Uncle Matthew that dress and Sheila hadn't wanted to hurt his feelings (But oh, those wabbly, spike-heeled pumps!)"
Ultimately, Sheila comes to Beany's aid as she is laden with the care of a baby (whom Beany mistakenly takes into the Malone home). ". . . And then she found that Sheila was shaking her and saying, "Leave off your crying, Beany! And did I say I wouldn't be going home with you and caring for the wee one here. Aye, and I can be fixing trays and cosseting the owl one when his mind goes dark."
Why had Beany ever thought Sheila McBride s voice was harsh and clipped and flat. It seemed to Beany, as she blew her nose and dabbed at her eyes, that she had never heard words with such chiding, caressing gentleness as 'Leave off your crying, Beany.'
And Johnny himself would find lilting poetry in her, "and cosseting the owl one when his mind goes dark. . .'"
Kay's overly self-indulgent, self-absorbed mother who wished never to grow old.
"Kay was wearing an orchid blouse with a gray suit. Her mother was wearing exactly the same. The only difference was that Kay was without ornament and Faye, her mother, wore a heavy necklace and a jangly charm bracelet.
Beany exclaimed, "Your mother! Honest?' and then flusteredly, 'How do you do, Mrs. Maffley' only I thought I thought you were Kay's sister.'
"Oh, everyone thinks that," the girl-woman said with a pleased, tinkly laugh. Everyone calls me Faye, no one ever calls me Mrs. Maffley. Everyone takes me for Kay's twin.'
As the car, the color of vanilla ice cream, sped through the rain, Beany's practical mind was doing arithmetic. Kay was sixteen. Her mother must be thirty-six, thirty-four, at least, and she did look sixteen, with that pale riot of hair, with that youngish gray suit with patch pockets. . . . .
...Faye said to Beany, as though she wanted to hear it again, 'So you thought I was Kay's sister... Do you remember the southern colonel, Kay dear, who always referred to us as the winsome twosome? Kay and I have always been chums. We have all our good times together...'" Kay, being the more mature of the two Maffley's, lacked appreciation or affection for her mother, feeling rather embarrassed by Faye's attempts to be her chum rather than a mother.
(Mary Fred's loyal friend) Lila Sears was Mary Fred's shadow. Mild-mannered. Faithful supporter of Mary Fred and her independent ideals. Always subject to her domineering mother's approval and criticisms.
Quotes taken from the Beany Malone series. Copyright David Weber. All rights reserved.