WVRC Meeting of 19 October 2000
BRUCE HARRIS was with us once again! RAY ZICKFELD brought him, and a
number of you greeted him, which just shows how much we missed his being
there. Along that line, several of us have formed a 'reading chain' during
the week, reading whatever BRUCE selects while Caroline can get out for
errands, etc. Those who are helping are Betty and Dolph Hoyt, YOE, the
BEAK'S and the JACK HARRIS'S, RAY and the DEWHIRST'S. It was really gratifying
to get such an immediate response to our request for help, and it's a
win-win situation for all concerned. On that same subject, an offer: BRUCE
no longer needs a second car, so they would like to sell their 1986 Mercedes
- low mileage, one owner, all those good things. Please give them a call
if you would like details, OK?
President Elect GEORGE DEA was in charge today - Steve was out of the
state, and GEORGE filled in very capably. DICK LITTLESTONE led the Pledge,
reminding us that our flag was flying on the USS Cole when she was bombed.
PP JIM DOWNIE was giving us good background music before we were seated,
and was joined by PP STEVE DAY, who led us in America. Next up was BOB
THOM, who started with a poem about the values of friendship, and as part
of his Invocation Time, suggested that "Worry doesn't help the future,
but it sure can ruin the present". PP STEVE DAY reappeared, reminding
us of the upcoming District Dinner at the LAX Westin, 6 p.m. on the 28th
- and tickets have become available, if you call him right away. He then
invited Alexander and Lindsay LENEHEN to come forward, accompanied by
their parents. They both were presented with Paul Harris Fellowships,
and PP TOM told us that Alex is just back from Colorado, while Lindsay
is presently at Antioch University - it's nice to have the family all
together again and they are justifiably proud of them both. PP STEVE reminded
us of what a Paul Harris Fellowship investment of $1,000 will provide
- it's a real bargain and can do a lot of good in the 3rd world, in particular.
This ceremony was warmly applauded.
JACK HARRIS also reappeared, this time to introduce two visiting Rotarians,
Bob Lamkins of Palos Verdes Peninsula, who is a fund-raiser for Loyola
Marymount, and Aid Arum, from the Santa Monica club, who is in telecommunications.
Aiko in turn introduced her assistant, Nancy, but YOE failed to get her
last name (blame it on my tape recorder, which ran out of batteries…)
RUDY ALVAREZ introduced his Special Guest Steve Waters. PP BOB WESSLING
fearlessly reported on the continuing positive results of his coaching
tips to the DePauw Tigers - they just beat Blackburn College 48 to 7!
I mention his courage because he still seems to be Teflon-coated as far
as being appropriately fined for this extracurricular coaching activity,
but of course this may be due to Prez STEVE being away this week. Whatever
the reason, justice must be served, sooner or later, as I'm sure all my
faithful readers will agree. Lastly, HARLAN LEWIS reminded us of the Yearling
Breakfast at the Holiday Inn this coming Tuesday, 0730.
BRUCE ROLF had some surgery earlier this week, but is home again and
doing well. He and Marie had visited DAN PRICE when he was still at St.
Johns, but DAN checked out yesterday, and we're still trying to find him.
If anyone knows, please fill me in, and I'm guessing that DAN can use
some visitation help, with groceries, errands, etc. As you know, he lives
in Malibu so it will be a bit of a drive - but let's put Service above
Self, and give DAN a needed hand at this time, please.
Another guest today was Rob Williams who will be our Ambassadorial Scholar,
going to New Zealand for a year, starting this December. DICK LITTLESTONE
introduced him, and reminded us that he just got his BA in French at USC!
An outstanding young man, Rob is a world-class swimmer in the breaststroke,
missing the Olympics by 4/l0ths of a second. He comes from a family of
true diversity, his American father being a Muslim, his Australian mother
is Jewish, and he speaks five languages. His three younger brothers are
in school locally, and he has worked for Air New Zealand and the French
Consulate. In New Zealand, he will attend the University of Auckland,
and will get his Masters in International Relations there. During his
talk, he mentioned that some people are discussing a merger of Australia
and New Zealand, which was the first I had heard of this possibility.
And now, after hearing his story, let's ALL get more active in promoting
this Scholarship Program - attracting outstanding students like ROB shows
its value, and we owe it to potential scholars to spread the word.
PDG ANDY ANDERSON then strode forward to introduce our speaker, DR RALPH
BEASOM. ANDY pointed out that he and RALPH have been playing golf for
over ten years, and when they started, they were both mediocre. RALPH
has improved considerably, but in response to repeated inquiries, has
consistently denied taking any lessons - just practices a lot, he says.
But the other day, after finishing a round at Rancho, ANDY and RALPH walked
by the club pro, who boomed out, "Hi, Ralph"!
Personally, I only had one regret about RALPH'S talk today - we didn't
get any personal history, and I missed that. So I'm going to exercise
my editorial prerogative, and REPRINT the profile I did of RALPH several
years ago. Here goes -
Profiling RALPH BEASOM
Since I wasn't, I assume you also won't be ready for this - there are
twin Beasom's - and naturally, both are physicians! Jim was born a few
minutes before Ralph, both in Seattle in l922. Their dad was a Lutheran
Minister, and I guess he and his wife figured that two such peas in a
pod was enough. However, things change, and Rev. Beasom became ill - of
all things from a very old high school football injury. A bone sliver
in his nose was the culprit, and he was advised to 'go south', the theory
being that a drier climate would cure him. So the family moved to LA in
l927, first settling in Culver City, then moving to Glendale. His dad
switched to teaching, first at Taft, then at Glendale College, specializing
in debate and public speaking.
So Jim and Ralph went to the same public schools - and until Glendale
High, they were even in some of the same classes. This led to what is
now called grade averaging - that is, if one of them was set for an A,
and the other likely to get a C, they both got B's - that way, neither
one was singled out - and besides, they were so identical that their own
teachers couldn't tell them apart! Once in high school, however, they
were able to take different classes - this, despite the fact that both
wanted to pursue medicine. As a senior, Ralph ran for Yell Leader, and
he claims that half the class knew him, and the other half knew Jim, so
he got everyone's vote...He also found time to be the Cadet Colonel, in
charge of the entire ROTC unit, and was elected to the Student Council.
They graduated in l939.
It may surprise you to find that they both then enrolled at tiny Midland
College in Fremont, Nebraska, which was church - related. Yes, they both
were premed. When they graduated in l944, they were both accepted for
medical school at Loma Linda here in California, and at Crieghton, in
Nebraska. At this point, their draft board made the choice for them -
off to Creighton, since classes started three months earlier there. Graduating
in l948, they then became interns together at California Hospital - and
things got really tough. Besides the $50 monthly salary, 36 hours on and
l2 hours off, there were serious communication problems. The P.A. would
say, "Dr. Beasom, call so and so" - but, which Beasom? Patients or staff
would start talking to them in the hall, and soon both parties wondered
if they had the wrong one . The only positive result of all this was they
then realized they could never practice medicine together.
When they completed their internship, Jim opted for the Army, and Ralph
chose the Navy - alone at last! Ralph was the Regimental Surgeon for a
year with the 5th Marines at Camp Pendleton, returning then to California
Hospital for a three-year residency in surgery. He also worked at Orange
County Hospital during this residency Meanwhile, he and Helen met when
he was at Creighton - apparently, she could tell Ralph and Jim apart -
while she was a nurse at Edmunson Hospital in Council Bluffs, Iowa. They
were married in March l949, when he was an intern.
Next came Korea - for almost two years! Ralph, once again with the Marines,
was stationed near the 38th parallel in the devastated village of Monson
This was a field hospital, more or less - just like in the MASH TV show,
but conditions were really terrible. They slept in tents, with one small
stove, no electricity or running water , ditch latrines - and every two
weeks the shower truck would arrive, filled with ice-cold water! The time
was l953 to '55, the 'war' ending n l954 - but the only difference was
there were less casualties in l955.
Helen had her hands full with Fred, born in l950, and Phil, who came
along in l953, and they bought a house on Kelton. When Ralph was discharged
- Obligation Completed, you might say - he went into practice with Airl
Lundquist, a trauma surgeon who belonged to WVRC. Ralph joined WVRC in
September l957. Their office was on Westwood Blvd, and when Ail died in
l958, Ralph continued in solo practice, until he also retired. During
these 30 years,, he served as Chairman of the Emergency Committee at Santa
Monica Hospital - note that UCLA didn't open until the late 60's, and
St. Johns started their Emergency service only in the 80's.
A bit of medical history, if I may: Until Dr. Lundquist, who was the
Police Surgeon for WLA, got the system changed, the only full emergency
service available on the entire westside was at Santa Monica Hospital
- this meant, literally, that any accident or injury was first treated
at the local police station, where they had, at best, a basic first aid
unit. A terrible example - when Senator Robert Kennedy was shot at the
Biltmore Hotel, he was first taken to Central Police Receiving Station,
THEN to Good Sam, where he died. This was one catalyst in establishing
full-fledged emergency rooms at all local hospitals, and thus Ralph became
a pioneer in implementing this now-so-common practice. In his own practice,
about l/3rd of his patients were private, another third were from industrial
accidents (all Douglas Aircraft employees went to Ralph, for instance)
and the last third were from auto accidents. Today all these are handled
by trauma specialists - who didn't even exist when Ralph came aboard.
Ralph and Helen belong to St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Santa Monica,
and he still volunteers at Ocean Park Community Center's Turning Point.
Serving with four other professionals, he oversees research and development
of a variety of new drugs for several pharmaceutical companies. And he
finds time for golf, hiking, and reading. Grandchildren range from Fred's
oldest, who is 6'8", about to graduate from high school, and is in some
demand athletically, to the four kids of Don - three his own, one adopted.
Ralph - I have to confess that I have always considered you to be the
one, true Renaissance Man in WVRC, and I think your story bears that out.
Now, in response to the several of you who alluded to the possibility
that I wouldn't get all of RALPH'S facts and dosages right, I offer this:
The three major neurotransmitters that were known about when RALPH was
still in medical school are,
# one, serotonin, which deals with emotions, particularly depression.
# two is dopamine, which helps to control muscle-motor functions, and
thus can be used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's, and
# three, acetylcholine. which can have a major effect on memory function.
In speaking of Alzheimer's, there is no test which positively proves
it is present or not. B12 deficiency is caused by the decrease in acid
produced in the stomach, the lack of which prevents B12 from being absorbed..
This deficiency occurs increasingly in many people as they become older.
This in turn produces some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's, but dosages
of B12 can help. This supplement can be taken in pill form, or for those
with severe shortages of acid, shots can be given. It is relatively easy
to check the level of B12 in your system.
Memory - several things will help to prolong this function. Exercise,
vitamin E (400 MG), and avoiding fatty foods all are useful tools. Floating
fatty particles in the arteries of the brain oxidize to create free radicals
that subsequently damage the brain. Free radicals cause aging of all cells,
so if we can neutralize them, that will slow the aging process in cells.
If we can materially slow this process, say by 5 to 10 years, the patient
will die of something other than arteriolosclerosis. In this regard, vitamin
C works with water-soluble tissues, such as the eye. Vitamin E works with
fatty tissues, such as the brain, and the body needs a variety of these
substances to stay healthy.
Finally, what is homocystine? It is now newly recognized that it produces
excess free radicals, which damage the walls of the arteries in our heart
and brain. These free radicals can be easily neutralized by taking folic
acid (400 to 800 micrograms), B6 (10 to 50 MGs) and B12 - from 200 to
l000 MGs. This treatment helps to control hardening of the arteries, or
arteriolosclerosis. Since arteriolosclerosis and B12 deficiency are both
treatable, it makes sense to start the treatment early. And incidentally,
anything that is good for the heart is also good for the brain. RALPH,
you have certainly reinforced our belief that you are, indeed, the WVRC
Renaissance Man. Thank You.
Thought for the Day - If you haven't struck oil in 5 minutes…stop boring.
YOE, Ernie Wolfe