Along with a touching story, the advice was..."Make yourself useful as well as ornamental!"
Eliana's whole entry:
My mother anticipated the Women's Movement by decades. Both my parents pitched in with everything, from earning a paycheck to painting the walls to washing and drying mountains of dishes in tandem. They may not have been quite in sync with the neighbors at times -- especially during the 1950s -- but that didn't seem to bother them unduly.
One day, during that stretch of late childhood when girls tend to preen and giggle and study their mirror-images incessantly, I became vaguely aware that my parents were running around rather frantically, caught up in last-minute preparations for a dinner party at our house. As my harried mother sped past with the salad plates, she caught sight of me perched contentedly in my favorite armchair -- garbed in my prettiest party dress and dreamily admriing the shine of my patent leather mary janes. It was then that she called out some cheery words of advice which have guided my life for more than forty years now: "Hey there, kiddo -- Make yourself useful as well as ornamental!"
My mom was physically handicapped and in a lot of pain because of arthritis. However, she sewed, delivered meals to the elderly, and traveled with my dad until she died. I asked her once why she continued to do so much even though people told her to slow down. She looked at me and said, "I plan to live until I die. Not just take up space and stare at the scenery."
It is still my benchmark for a good life.
- posted by smcrippin
"no cheap shoes and no cheap liquor. they'll both hurt you in the end." Brilliant and true.
- posted by ATN
"I'm not here to tell you what you should do, listen to your heart... but don't come back crying after you get VD's"
(she's a gynecologist, best advise ever!)
- posted by joel maria pirela
"I trust you." She said that for everything. Like the time I first brought a girl home to meet her, as I was leaving for a party, or before I left for college. She never needed to finish the thought ;).
- posted by Michael K
i was a major hippie/counterculture radical in the bay area at the height of the haight, when my mother said to me:
"you REALLY should stop smoking all that pot...and start selling it."
- posted by cruikshank
My Mom says:
It's nice to be important. but it's more important to be nice.
- posted by lynnea
"You will learn to drive a stick shift first... it accomplishes two things. It means that later on in life when you have to drive a friend home drunk... no matter what kind of car they have, you can drive it. And secondly cars that are stick shift usually have smaller back seats and are much more difficult to get pregnant in."
Fortunately for me, my mother was right. Learning to drive a stick was the best thing I ever learned. (and i never got pregnant!)
- posted by sarahrae
My mom, a woodworker, gives the same piece of advice to both carpenters and her children: "You can't change the grain of wood no matter how much you paint or polish." It has proven quite useful over the years not only in design work but more importantly when dealing with other people or even myself.
- posted by eirikur
"The more you follow your gut (instincts), the easier it will be to do it the next time."
- posted by fishlover