Pinky Pie

Random Quote, Marie Ebner-Eschenbach & Me

Posted on: February 15, 2011


“In youth we learn; in age we understand.”

Marie Ebner-Eschenbach (1830-1916), Austrian writer

Now that Dick and I have taken over Maggie’s bedroom because it is warmer than our own, we – I – have discovered some treasures.

I found upside down roses, the ghosts of proms past. I do have permission from her to throw them away, although I haven’t done that yet. The fact that she graduated from high school in 1999  should indicate how old those flowers are.

And then I found a little book I once gave her called Quotable Women. (No, I’m not quoted.)

I decided to open the book randomly for a quote that would be the substance of a blog post. The one above is the first I found.

It’s a classic quote about how much we think we know when we are kids as were are learning so much. And how much we understand life as we age.

My modern interpretation makes me think of how for years I bemoaned the fact that for one day – only – I would have two teenagers in the house and on that day I would suffer so. Maggie and Michael’s birthdays are seven years apart minus two days.

So Maggie came home from college just a day before her 20th birthday and the day after Michael turned 13. (She went back home for her own celebration the next day.)

It was so stressful to have two teenagers in the house. Picture me with my hand pressed against my forehead saying, “Oh woe is me.”

All of a sudden the kids start slamming doors and shouting, “You just don’t understand me!” “Let me live my life!”

Perfectly played. It was hilarious. And then it was over.

As dumb as we think our parents are, when we grow up we discover they may not be so dumb after all. I reached that point in my life and I’m hoping my kids will one day realize just how brilliant I am before I move into that category of “Mom’s lost it – again.” Or at least there will be a balance between how smart I suddenly became and how lost I am.

Ebner-Eschenbach is considered one of the most important German-speaking authors in the second half of the 19th century. I had never heard of her, but I’m pleased to hear of other quotes attributed to her:

  • “Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.”
  • “Fear not those who argue but those who dodge
  • “Whenever two good people argue over principles, they are both right.”

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