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Happiness is Being Part of a Family

March 25, 2015

Susan Marg

Charles M. Schultz rhapsodized, “Happiness is a warm puppy.” Comedian George Burns joked, “ Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”

Since so many life histories and memoirs are about family, I thought it’d be fun to find some quotes about those whom we know best. I mean, if we can’t laugh at our family, who can we laugh at – besides ourselves?

A family is a unit composed not only of children, but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.

Photo by: KIDS – © everett225

Photo by: KIDS – © everett225

  •  Ogden Nash

No amount of law enforcement can solve a problem that goes back to the family.

  •  Edgar Hoover

Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.

  •  Cary Grant

I know it’s a cliché, but the whole family is just whacked. I mean, we’re all out of our minds. They’re the funniest, most eccentric bizarre people I’ve ever met, my siblings.

  • Dana Carvey

To each other, we were as normal and nice as the smell of bread. We were just a family. In a family even exaggerations make perfect sense.

  • John Irving

Your basic extended family today includes your ex-husband or -wife, your ex’s new mate, your new mate, possibly your new mate’s ex and any new mate that your new mate’s ex has acquired.

  • Delia Ephron

There is no such thing as fun for the whole family.

  • Jerry Seinfeld

I think it’s fascinating that I receive attention for what people perceive to be a level of manliness or machismo, when amongst my family of farmers and paramedics and regular Americans, I’m kind of the sissy in my family.

  •  Nick Offerman

I looked up my family tree and found out I was the sap.

  •  Rodney Dangerfield

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.

  •  George Bernard Shaw

So clear out your closets and make your family skeleton dance by writing a life or family history.

A Little Perspective, Please

March 15, 2015

Susan Marg

Different generations see things differently, as the story I received in an email shows very clearly. It goes like this…

Photo by: Road – © muha04

At the grocery store, a young cashier suggested to the older woman customer that she should bring her own bags, reminding her that plastic bags are not good for the environment.

The woman apologized and commented, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”

The clerk, not hiding her annoyance, responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

The older lady, hoping to avoid an argument, but wanting to put the issue in perspective, went on to say, “Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store, in turn, sent them back to the plant to be washed, sterilized, and refilled. But we didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.


Grocery stores packed our purchases in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable was using them as covers for our schoolbooks. This ensured that public property, as the school provided the books for our use, was not defaced by our scribbling. Still, we were able to personalize our books by writing on the cover. But, too bad we didn’t do the ‘green thing’ back then.

“We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty, instead of using a throw-away cup or plastic bottle. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced dull razor blades instead of throwing the razor away. When mailing a fragile item, we made do with wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. 

 But, no, we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back then.”

“We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every building. We walked to the grocery store, rather than climbing into a 300-horsepower machine to go two blocks. We exercised by working or walking to work, so we didn’t need to run on treadmills requiring electricity. 

But you’re right. We didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in our day.


We washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the disposable kind. We dried our wash on a line, not in an energy-gobbling dryer. To cut the grass, we used a push mower, rather than one that ran on gasoline. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their older relatives, and, no, they weren’t always in latest fashion.

 But, young lady, you’re right; we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in our day.

We had one television and one radio in the house, not in every room. And the television had a small screen the size of a handkerchief. In the kitchen we chopped and mixed by hand, not owning an appliance for each and every task. 

 And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a satellite signal in order to find the nearest burger joint. But you’re right; we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back then.”

Let’s remember how we once lived, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to bridge the generation gap.

© 2015 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

From Here to Eternity

March 4, 2015

Susan Marg

The Oscars are over. Birdman, a fictional story of a washed up actor desperately wanting to be relevant, walked away with the most prestigious awards. Although nominated, American Sniper, while earning the biggest box office, won none, nor did Wild, both of which chronicle actual events.

Still, movies based on true stories did quite well at the 87th Academy Awards. Consider that American Sniper, The Imitation Game, Selma, and The Theory of Everything, all commemorating a person, an event, or both, represented four of the eight nominations for Best Picture.

Illustration by: BlueLela

Illustration by: BlueLela

Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) and Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) were nominated for Best Actor for their portrayals, respectively, of Chris Kyle and Alan Turing, while Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) won for his depiction of the world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking. Hawking was so pleased with the film that following a screening he sent director James Marsh an email, exclaiming that “there were certain points when [I] felt [I] was watching [myself.] The Academy also recognized Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) with the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in the true crime drama.

The fairer half in the best and/or supporting actor/actress categories received kudos as well for playing film versions of real-life people. Although the Best Actress award went to Julianne Moore (Still Alice), the Academy nominated both Reese Witherspoon (Wild) and Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything). Jane Hawking had the same reaction as her ex-husband watching Jones with Redmayne, saying, “’How can I be on the screen and in a cinema seat at the same time?” Nominations in the Best Supporting Actress category included Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game) and Laura Dern (Wild).

The movie-going audience seems to love seeing real-life past or present personalities come to life on the big screen, whether they’re known for their music, their athletic prowess, their survival skills, their idealism, their creativity, or a quirk of fate. The stories come from history books and biographies. Last year’s Dallas Buyer’s Club originated with a lengthy newspaper article and then expanded to interviews with Ron Woodruff, on whose life the movie was based, and his personal journals.

And then there are memoirs. Following in the footsteps not only of Reese Witherspoon, but also, in former years, Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun and Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love, Jennifer Lawrence plans on producing and starring in The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls’ account of her nomadic childhood with her dysfunctional family. The book was a best seller, and the movie should be a hit. It might even garner a couple of Oscar nominations for its star.

© 2015 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

For an opinion of the best movies adapted from memoirs, visit flavorwire.