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Our people: ENMU theater professor prepares to retire

So why did Anne Beck decide to teach theater?

"I'm a second-generation theater professor. My father was a theater pro fessor," she said.

"When I was kid growing up in Lawrence, Kan., our house was near the university theater. I was in some college plays as a kid.

I kind of followed my dad," she said.

The retiring Eastern New Mexico University professor shared some details about her life with The News on Tuesday.

Q: Where were you born?

A: I was born on an Army base, Fort Belvoir, Va. I don't have memories of there, but I have a lot of memories of Lawrence, Kan.

My sister and I spent all our time riding bikes.

When I arrived in Portales, the landscape, the sky reminded me of Lawrence.

Q: What brought you to Portales?

A: Well, the job. The job teaching theater history, directing plays, and dramatic literature.

Q: Tell us about your family.

A: I have a sister who is in Las Cruces. She was a librarian at New Mexico State. She just retired.

I have two brothers in Olympia, Wash.

Q: What jobs have you had in your life?

A: I was a writing teacher at the City University of New York and in New Rochelle, N.Y.

The "real" job I had was a waitress in New York City. I was a cater waiter.

Q: You are retiring? So then what?

A: I'm going to be here through the summer and the fall, but eventually I'm going to move to Las Cruces to be near my sister.

I have really good friends in the theater department at NMSU, so it will be good to see their shows and hang out with them.

Q: The professor, Jon Barr, who suggested we interview you, said you really belong in "Our People." Any idea why he would say that?

A: I think because Jon Barr and I have worked together in a supportive atmosphere.

I think that since I've been here, since 2003, what makes us special is we create a creative atmosphere, a healthy environment of positivity for the students.

We are supported by the administration here.

It's been a very good university for us in our department.

One of the things that I discovered and learned in this job is we are like a repertory company. We work together like we are a theater company.

Q: What's your favorite place to vacation?

A: Merida on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.

It takes a little bit to get there.

There's this amazing part, the old part, that looks like Paris.

There are museums, old palaces, high-end stores along with this ancient Colonial style architecture.

I like Mexico City, too.

Q: How often do you make your bed?

A: Daily. You're asking someone who keeps everything clean.

Q: Do you double dip your chip in salsa?

A: I try not to.

Q: Tell us something about yourself few people know.

A: I write in a journal every day. I've been doing this since I was in my early 20s. I have a lot of journals.

I love horses.

You know, when we were in Kansas, every weekend we went to ride horses at Mr. Mott's ranch. He had these horses and all of us kids would ride horses.

I love horses. I'd love to work in horse rescue.

I also love to work in animal rescue.

Q: What's the best sandwich?

A: Watercress. Some cream cheese, some watercress. It's a green that's quite flavorful. You have it with tea.

I've never had a watercress sandwich, but I plan on going to London so I can.

Q: What's your favorite smell?

A: That's easy, lilacs. They remind me of Kansas. We used to have lilacs.

I remember when I was young, on May Day my sister and I would make these "May baskets" out of construction paper, then we would pick lilacs and daffodils, put them in the baskets and leave them on the doorsteps of neighbor's houses.

Q: What's your favorite dish?

A: Broccoli. Gently steamed, not overcooked, and just a tiny bit of butter.

Q: What's your favorite movie? Why?

A: The one I really love is "Grey Gardens." It's a documentary about Jackie Onassis' eccentric aunt and cousin.

It's interesting to me about how they lived their lives.

They made a movie with the same name in 2009 with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange playing the parts.

Q: Anne Beck's fantasy dinner party ... who's there?

A: My sister, my Portales friends the Crandalls, Tennessee Williams and Sarah Bernhardt; they're both divas.

Q: Who inspires you?

A: Martha Graham, the late modern dancer.

She created dance for her own body. She was relentless, totally honest.

She wasn't looking for fame, she was just looking for a medium to express herself.

Q: What's your favorite saying or quote?

A: "A person who is not afraid is not aggressive. A person who has no sense of fear of any kind is really a free, peaceful person," from Jiddu Krishnamurti.

He was an Indian philosopher.