He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.
~1904 Bessie Anderson Stanley ~
I love this poem.
I love its simplicity...
It is often wrongly attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson.
However, I have included portions of a letter from Bethanne,
a relative of Bessie's, that tells the story behind the poem,
which is equally intriguing.
"I was named for Bessie (Elisabeth Anne) and my gram always said I look very much like her. She died before I was born, so I never knew her, but the family is unanimous in saying she was the very definition of a warm and wonderful woman. My uncle Gene says she was the perfect grandmother. She was one of those people whose house was always full of guests, family, and neighbors all running in and out. She loved poetry and taking care of people and had a gorgeous iris garden, which was her favorite place.
Success was written as the winning entry in a contest run by Brown Book Magazine in 1904. Bessie won a cash prize of $250 which paid off the mortgage on the house, among other things. It was included in Bartlett's Book of Quotations for decades, and if you can find an old edition from the 30's or 40's, it should be in there. They dropped it, I think in the 60's, but I don't know why.
The family isn't sure how the poem got mangled and attributed to Emerson, but it was further confused by Ann Landers and her sister Abby. Ann Landers used to (mis)quote it all the time and cite Emerson as the source. My great-uncle Art, a retired federal judge who died last March, and she had a decade-long correspondence as he argued for a public correction. She finally conceded and in her book, The Ann Landers Encyclopedia, prints the whole story.
I think it's a beautiful poem, too. From what I've been told about her, it delineates her character perfectly. She lived what she wrote. And in these days, with our obsession for the material going full throttle, it's good to be reminded that true success is not measured in portfolios, stock options, or bank balances."
Quick summation of a rather , hmmm, annoying week....
1) Got my flu shot...I was very brave. I asked for child life to support me during this difficult time and everyone thought I was kidding? Imagine that? Then, no prize, no sticker; well, I was.....disappointed. I mean I was good, no one had to hold me down. Sniff, sniff, sometimes being an adult stinks.
2) What, and I mean WHAT, was in the air this week with all the cranky and less than appreciative parents?
This trend of grumpiness seemed to appear everywhere I went...In Goodwill two angry mothers yelled and cussed in front of their two innocent wide eyed children and the equally innocent and wide eyed patrons. Sprinkling the F word loudly and rudely into the air, over and over and over again... I wanted to say something but I figured since she was going to F-ing beat the #*#!! out of who ever was on the phone and the other lady who kept grabbing the phone was gonna help, perhaps I better keep my opinions about their language and parenting habits to myself...Yes, sometimes, I am a coward...
3) When you go to the hospital or doctors office, please realize the nurses and doctors are working as fast as they can. We do not have it in for you! Seriously!Sometimes we will treat the extremely ill before giving your child their immunizations.However, if that extremely sick child were yours wouldn't you like the same consideration?.....Just a thought...
4) Really people, quit acting like a bunch of hillbillies!!! Our culture has become so coarse. Is this necessary? Your nasty choice of adjectives does not impress me, your lack of kindness toward our children does not impress me, bullies have never impressed me. Grow up and mind your manners please!
5) Throw in 2 late clinics, no sleep, school work and
and I guess that 'bout sums up the week.
Thoughts on Life:
1) Yes, I have them...
2) Someday we are all going to be old. If you body slam your 4 year old on the table because you are tired of waiting, jerk down their pants and yell, "Get ready, this is gonna hurt..." I wonder is this the type of treatment you will wish to receive when you are older, smaller, frailer and infirm from your grown child? Hmmm....
3) Try and be a good parent...Would you go to work vomiting or with a 102 degree fever? Yet, you send your children to school to infect the rest of humanity until the school nurse calls you to come pick them up. Then, you bring them to the clinic. Really, moms, dads, this is not rocket science! Were we all not instructed to treat others as we would like to be treated, especially the least of these....our children, our future...
4) Everybody should get a boo boo pop, a sticker, or a prize after a shot, just saying....but the freezy spray did help. Thanks :)
Parents Of The Week Award:
Yes, they are out there....
Lastly, to the older mom who came in with her toddler and had every, and I mean every, piece of paper pertaining to her child in a binder. I could have cried. It really was touching. You were so happy to be a mom and obviously so in love with your child. Daddy came in later and they said it might just be a minute before they could leave the room because they wanted to comfort little one after his shots. Thank you for giving me hope during a dark week. You, my dears, receive the Parents Of The Week Award!