[Note: 2013 1st Edition Title – Island Boy: My Life on the Rock]
Arnold is a direct descendant of Claudius van Beverhoudt, a Dutch settler who came to the Caribbean island of St. Thomas in the late 1600s. He was born on St. Thomas in the early 1950s and has lived there his entire life. Although his home island is only 32 square miles in area, he was fortunate to have lived a full and happy life – thanks to his loving parents, siblings, wife, daughter, and other family members. He remembers the safe and uncomplicated place that St. Thomas was as he was growing up and the many friends he made along the way. He went to Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School from kindergarten to 12th grade and then earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in Business Administration from the College (now University) of the Virgin Islands.
He was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to be selected for a summer internship in the Nation’s Capital, which led to a 35-year career as an auditor with the U.S. Department of the Interior. In that position, he audited the operations of most agencies within the Government of the Virgin Islands. In later years, Arnold was promoted to the position of Audit Manager of Interior’s office on St. Thomas. In addition, during the 5-year period of 1997 to 2001, he was tasked with oversight responsibility for Interior’s audit office on Guam. In that capacity, he had the opportunity to visit Guam and other islands of the Pacific in connection with audits of the governments of those islands.
During and shortly after his college years, Arnold had a few unhappy “affairs of the heart.” But he eventually found his “Island Girl” Helena, who had crossed his path earlier in life without either of them realizing it. When they did meet during one of Arnold’s audits, Helena became his best “audit finding.” They were soon married and had a daughter (named Selene after a character in an Isaac Asimov novel) who followed in her mother’s footsteps by attending All Saints Cathedral School. Selene later struck out on her own to attend college and start her own family in Florida.
All along the way, Arnold had many idols and heroes who helped to influence his character and the things in life that are important to him. He also had to twice face the destruction of his home – thanks to Hurricanes Hugo (1989) and Marilyn (1995) – and the loss of loved ones along the way. Now in his “golden years,” Arnold enjoys the quiet comfort of home, with Helena at his side and the promise of another family visit to his Disney “happy place” to look forward to.
Come along and join Arnold on his voyage of self-discovery on his tiny island in the Caribbean. It’s a story that’s been 66 years (and counting) in the making!