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MY STUDENTS, PAUL NEWMAN, BETTY, MOM AND THAT’S NOT ALL

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” ― Mark Twain

I came across this Twain quote the other day. Love it. Love him. His book, LETTERS FROM THE EARTH was on my father’s night table when it wasn’t in his hands. Twain and Shakespeare. Shakespeare and Twain. Lucky us to have had them.

Lucky me to have had the mother I did. For many reasons. Here’s one: 50 years ago, late one afternoon, she appeared in the living room where I was watching some moronic soap opera on TV. “Read this instead. You’ll understand me better and maybe make a better life.” She handed me THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE. When I told the girls at school that my mother gave me the book, they were shocked. They had heard that it was like PEYTON PLACE and CANDY. Forbidden. Their moms had not put it in their hands. Or read it themselves. Or encouraged their daughters to break from convention and rock boats. I devoured the book in a few sittings. Wow! Thank you, Betty. More important, thank you, oh yes thank you, Mom.

Last week, I went to three book events for three erstwhile students, two in one night. All three are courageous women. They wrote stories about their challenges and those of other strong women. Two started their books in my class. They worked hard. Stayed with it. Persisted. Revised. Hung in. And revised some more. Yay!

On Saturday, my AARP piece, 50 THINGS THAT ARE BETTER THAN SEX appeared on a big AARP site with a picture of Paul Newman. Paul was one of my 50 items. So far, over 2100 ‘likes’ have appeared along with almost 300 comments. About Paul’s sex appeal, looks, and eyes. Of course. About the things they like better than sex. And about what a pathetic sex life I must have. Seriously! So, to my literal-minded readers: I sometimes write with my tongue in my cheek. That was among the reasons the AARP editors hired me. Yes, cool hand Luke was sexy. Always. But we’re talking fantasy and the screen. My 50 THINGS….is a humor piece. Pu-lease, you needn’t worry.

An article appeared in this past Monday’s New York Times called “More Than One N.Y.U. Star Got Lavish Parting Gift” about the high six-figure yearly incomes and homes the university president and other top level administrators get when they leave their jobs. I swallowed that with my first cup of coffee. With my second cup, I read my emails. One was a letter from NYU explaining that adjunct instructors—I am one–will get future appointment letters and all correspondence electronically to cut costs and save money. Some things change. Some never do. Some want to make me puke. But hey, much in my life is better than my adjunct salary. At least 50 things.

LOVE ‘N STUFF, Nancy

ps. my new AARP column is up. link: www.aarp.org/home-family/home-family-experts/single-dating-sex-advice-kelton

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