Meet Bea Smalls
By Beverly J. Clark, Publicity Director
Beatrice Smalls, whom everybody affectionately calls “Bea,” began working for the City of Los Angeles as a Messenger Clerk for Recreation and Parks in 1967. From there she advanced to Key Punch Operator in the Personnel Dept. After 33 years of service, she retired from Personnel in 2001 as a Sr. Clerk Typist and Chief Proctor.
As a City employee, if you’ve ever taken a promotional exam, then you’ve probably seen Bea supervising the proctors and ensuring all went well with test taking.
Bea says she was a very enterprising youngster. “I started working at the age of 14 in the garment district in New York City. I did laundry work and got fired because I burned too many customers’ clothes [big smile]. I also worked as a pin ticker, which consisted of putting tickets on items to be sold, and as a buttoner, putting buttons on baby clothing. And I can’t forget putting nail heads on jeans and jackets and feathers on hats [huge smile]. My motto was, ‘Hire me!’ You name the work, and I probably did it [big smile!].”
In 1965, Bea relocated from New York to be with the love of her life (a great big smile) and to escape the severe winter weather.
Bea has one son, Jason Smalls; one daughter, Robin da Silva; and one granddaughter, Jordan da Silva. And she is very close to her niece, Gayle Warner.
During her early years of retirement, Bea visited Hawaii and Ensenada on a cruise, but for the most part, unlike other Retirees who love to travel, Bea enjoys being close to home, spending time with family and friends.
Filling Her Days in Retirement
Just as she has been all of her life, Bea is very active in retirement and never gets bored. She keeps herself alert and vital with the purpose of helping others whenever and wherever she can.
She has been an active member of the Los Angeles Community Church for more than 30 years and is currently the church secretary. She was president for seven years of the Women’s Club in the gated complex where she lives. She also volunteered for 11 years at the LAX Airport Information Booth in Terminal 3 but was not able to continue when LAX discontinued this service during the pandemic. Bea was also active as an election volunteer for the presidential and statewide elections and an Inspector of Elections.
Bea is part of a group of Retired ladies consisting of Personnel Dept. Retirees who meet once a month for breakfast. They call themselves the “Bronze Girls Breakfast Club” and have been meeting for more than 20 years.
Words of Wisdom
Don’t be afraid to retire, she says; most people think they will not be able to live on their retirement income, but you will be fine. Less is more, and you won’t need as much as you did when you were working.
Bea emphasizes that it is important to “be kind to everyone, especially your family; spread love and rely on the Almighty. He will never forsake you; and don’t forget to pray. Prayer works miracles.
“Bible study groups have helped me stay focused in this changing world. Through them I have met many new people and have made many new friends. I love my retirement life. I have no regrets, but I do miss my co-workers. I think of them often and wonder how they’re doing.”