Is it Wisdom, Attitude or Security?
She was old, conservatively in her late 80’s, probably older.
It was fascinating to sit and listen to Ethel. She was a life long school librarian who along with her husband Lou, although childless, had raised numerous foster children. Wise words seemed to emanate from her with almost no encouragement from me.
“When I turned 75 I started sending everyone’s birthday card on July 1st. I figured at my age everyone would say she’s gone soft in the head. They were happy that I remembered them and I only had to remember one birthday.”
“I’ve seen a lot of change in my lifetime, and suffered a little too. Every time things get stressful I make sure that nothing changes in my bedroom. It’s my security blanket. It’s my cave where I can be safe.”
“If someone offers you something and you want it, take it. One of two things is happening. They either want you to have it or they’re a fool for offering it.”
“If you want to be special in people’s eyes, do the little things you don’t have to do. Almost everyone does the big stuff. It’s the little things that set you apart.”
“Be honest even if it sends you to State prison.”
“Sometimes a man has to do things he doesn’t want to do.”
“I always talked to my students with words I knew they didn’t understand. That way they learned how to do research, so they wouldn’t feel stupid. People will do almost anything to keep from looking stupid. So I looked stupid to them, so they wouldn’t end up being stupid for the rest of their life.” She paused then said. “The dictionary and the Bible are great books to help folks recover from stupidity.”
Ethel was always relaxed; she always had time to talk. She especially liked young people, she frequently said. “I grew up when people were more important than stuff.” When I told her, she’d told me that story before she instantly fired back. “It’s important, did you get it yet?” Then every time she said this, we both laughed out loud.
I personally liked her take on how to handle mishaps, mistakes and misfortune. “There’s a story in everything. The worse it is, the bigger the story. Bad things only last a little while, but a good story will out live you.”
Confucius, how does it feel to meet a real genius?
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