The Wisdom of 105 years

what she taught me

What She Taught Me: If you happen to be born under a Czar in Russia, it is best to die under the first black President of the United States.

The most memorable path from Odessa to New York is via Ellis Island.

If you marry young and wrong, fix it.  Then marry again, older, and get it right.

Go to summer camp, work at summer camp, send your kids to summer camp.

Work very hard in noble, middle-class professions, but have manners like you are from Old Money.

Speak your mind early, often and even, maybe especially, when your speech fails you.

No excuses---maintain your hair, makeup and nails.  In a pinch, lipstick in a bright hue and clip on earrings will suffice.

Read voraciously, talk about books constantly, engage politically and do the New York Times Crossword Puzzle as far into the week as you can manage.  Obviously Sunday is the pinnacle.

Be unabashed in your pride and boasting when it comes to your family and your own significant accomplishments.

Make your marriage a true love affair, canonize your husband and keep his memory alive during all the years he misses.

Venerate the country you live in and be passionate about preserving its loftiest ideals.

Women can and should be controversial, if at all possible.

Be grateful about the opportunities in your life, whether they came to you by chance or by your own toiling.

Listen to music, play music, make your children play music.

It is totally acceptable to embellish when you are singing the praises of your family, even if a few of your grandchildren somehow end up with promotions along the way.

The Sweet and Low and all the other accouterments on the table at a restaurant are there for the taking.  Fill up your purse, sister.  Fill it up.


Rhea Sapodin Tauber July 17, 1907 – May 26, 2012