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Here's where you can help keep Betty's legacy alive. She was a storyteller, and loved telling stories. Do you have a story to tell about Betty? Were you a friend, colleague, or student of hers? Did you see one of her theatrical plays? This is your opportunity to share your experience with others that knew Betty.

Email the webmaster with your story (along with a photo, if appropriate) and he will add your contribution to the site.

Betty Lambert grad photo

Current Stories:

Cathy Antell, former student of Betty's

I took a course from Ms. Lambert my first year or so at SFU.  I had a full course load and was spending hours a day on the bus.  It was crunch time and I had several papers due.  I also had an old clunker of a typewriter which kept sticking and a ribbon that didn't want to progress (this was in the dark ages).  It wasn't even electric.

While discussing one of the Greek tragedies at three in the morning I used the wrong word.  I had my paper returned to me and I discovered that there was some discussion of my character having been doused and smothered in oil.  You see, I had used the term "castor" instead of "castrate", so there was some mirth in how his demise or fate had been met.  It was a bit of a joke that day.  I found out that she had this dry sense of wit.  I still remember that all these years later (since 1979 or 1980).

I found your site and I thought I would share this with you.  All the best.
Cathy (A Criminology Major who loves the arts)
February 26, 2010


Bill Ferguson, former student of Betty's

I was thinking about "Betty Lambert" just recently. I really don't know why... except to say that I was in an English course she taught at SFU in 1979...imagine that!
She had a great impact on me. So witty, knowledgeable, charming. A great loss.
Now, all these years later, she still pops up in my mind.

Bill Ferguson
June 26, 2009


Nelson Beavington, Betty's brother-in-law and former student

I’ll always remember the first day we didn’t meet. Symbolic, somehow, and setting the stage for our eventual friendship. Typical in Betty’s world, but novel in mine.

In the spring of 1967 Betty Lambert was teaching English at Simon Fraser University. I was entering my third year there, though really my first year of English, having already tasted and spit out the other faculties.

Twenty Linguistics 111 students sat in the room awaiting our first class. Betty was late. After a specified number of minutes – ten, perhaps – I left.

I don’t know what possessed me. Sure, I knew the rule, that after ten minutes if the teacher was absent you could leave with impunity. I also knew that most first classes were little more than an assignment of texts to buy.

But I was still a model student at that point, not to mention meek, naïve, and helpful. I would be the last to leave a teacherless class.

But no. I was the first. And the only, as it turned out.

Next class, Betty asked me why I had missed the first class. I told her I had waited the regulatory minutes.

She pushed. Betty always knew instinctively when to push.

Couldn’t I have waited? All the others waited. Didn’t it make sense to wait a little longer, under the circumstances?

Somehow I stood my ground, and somehow we established an immediate mutual respect.

I was quitting academia, the only life I had ever known, though I didn’t know it until a few months later when Betty translated it for me. “Really, Mrs. Lambert, I don’t know what I’m doing here. I’ve tried everything from Math to Philosophy to Education, and now English. I’m supposed to be a top student, but I dropped a course because I refused to criticize a poem. My grades are falling….”

“So why don’t you quit?”

Just like that. I was stunned. She was right. Betty always knew the path to the truth.

I wrote a ridiculous final exam. Betty tried to fail me, but the board overruled her and passed me. What did they know? Not as much as she did, not about what was really going on.

I dropped out and became a hippie. Betty was a writer/mother/teacher/home-owner. We became friends, and she my mentor. We talked the good talk for years to come.

Betty told me her title Sqrieux-de-Dieu was a playful twist of Margaret Laurence’s title A Jest of God. Life for Betty was so often cosmic, dramatic, alive, mythical. Never black and white, yet coloured with intense blacks and whites. A real sqrieux de Dieu. Betty wrote a hippie character into the play and so jested me, the jester. And lest there be any doubt, she named him Nelson.

Betty introduced me to her sister Dorothy, whom I eventually married. At the ceremony, just after dawn, by the misty ruins of an ancient mill, Betty, maid-of-honour, signed as witness to the covenant. Signed on the line pointed to by the elderly absent-minded minister, who kept addressing me as Dorothy’s ex. Signed, we soon discovered, as the bride.

So I married her, if briefly. Did that mean anything, Betty, or was it just a slip of the pen? You were the master of meaning. You would know. You were brilliant, wise, larger than life. I miss you.

Nelson Beavington

April 2005


Betty Lambert Homepage Biography of Betty Betty's Writings Photographs of Betty Betty Lambert Memorial Prize Share a Story Website Links Website Sitemap