Today you are getting wisdom first and then the funny stuff because a reader sent the following: “I’ve said this before, but one of the reasons I am a writer is because I had a teacher in the third grade who looked at my poem about clowns and said, ‘You can be a writer when you grow up.’ It’s stayed with me forever. Teachers: do not ever underestimate what your words can do for your students.”
— Clint Smith
That statement caused me to flash back to a writing professor at UCLA who was also a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. I was young and in awe of him. He graded me well, but it was his words that impacted my life: “Bobbie, you are destined to be a writer; all you have to do is apply the seat of your pants to the seat of a chair.”
Years later, in 1977, I became a professional writer when the LA Times bought my story about being burned out in a major California fire. It was heartbreaking because besides losing our home, my dogs died in that fire, and so did what was left of a failing first marriage. The November 1961 Bel Air Fire destroyed 500 homes, but my ex forbid me to cry, especially in front of our 2-year-old daughter. I pushed down the pain for 16 years.
I never planned to go back and look at where my home used to be, but I was playing a lot of racquetball in the neighborhood with a new friend who had her own court. Judy’s home was once owned and rebuilt by our neighbor, actor Burt Lancaster. His marriage also failed, and the home sold to my friend and her large family of boys.
When I left Judy’s house that day after a few games, my car turned right instead of left, and I found myself parked in front of my former, rebuilt home. Suddenly, the tears that had been buried for 16 years were streaming down my face. I probably sat there and sobbed for a good 15 minutes. Then I went home to my happy marriage with Burt and sat down at a typewriter to put all of that pent-up pain into words. I was on autopilot, with no plans to send the story anywhere, but on impulse stuffed it in an envelope and mailed it to the Los Angeles Times.
I was honestly surprised to get a phone call three days later — they were buying the story. I was so stunned by the amount they paid me, I gave it all away to those less fortunate, a practice I still do because the gift of writing was/is a gift from God, and it felt like the right thing (for me) to do.
The point in today’s wisdom is honoring teachers, a profession so under-appreciated. Perhaps you also had a teacher whose words of encouragement made a difference in your life.
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The following day brightener just arrived from my Omaha high school friend, Teresa Cavanaugh (authors unknown).
“Cash, check or change?” I asked, after folding items the woman wished to purchase. As she fumbled for her wallet, I noticed a remote control for a television set in her purse. “So, do you always carry your TV remote?” I asked. “No,” she replied, “but my husband refused to come shopping with me, and I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him legally.”
Wife vs. Husband
A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word. An earlier discussion had led to an argument, and neither of them wanted to concede their position. As they passed a barnyard of mules, goats and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically, “Relatives of yours?“ “Yep,” the wife replied, “In-laws!”
Who does what?
A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning. The wife said, “You should do it because you get up first, and then we don’t have to wait as long to get our coffee.” The husband said, “You are in charge of cooking around here, and you should do it because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee!” Wife replies, “No, you should do it, and besides it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee.” Husband replies, “I can’t believe that, show me.” So she fetched the Bible, opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages that it indeed says: HEBREWS.
“God may have created man before woman, but there is always a rough draft before the masterpiece.”
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At the end of the email it says, “Share this with smart women who need a good laugh, and the men you think can handle it!”
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to the Rotary International Foundation, is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]