Study hard, be good.

March 19, 2012

Wise words from Nana

Spring came early in Colorado and five days of 70-degree weather are forecast. I am struggling to find my way to the DoubleScoop office, and to my desk with the enchanting view of the strip mall. At the same time, while I consider whether to show up to work, a voice reminds me ‘Work hard, be good.’

That is how my grandmother signed every letter and postcard written to me for as long as I can remember. When I was in school, from elementary through college, she wrote, ‘Study hard, be good.’ When I finally finished school, she switched the first word to ‘work.’ And somehow, in the context of birthday cards, little notes with clipped out comic strips, or a Christmas gift of flowered underwear, these words never seemed like an admonition, or an order, or a threat. She made this mantra natural and wise. And she was so consistent.

As I got older, married and had children, I don’t remember her signing off with those words anymore. Maybe the great reward for working hard and being good was the marriage and the children. Or maybe she knew if I had children, I of course was working hard. I suspect also, since I kept working after the birth of my first daughter, that my grandmother wanted me to quit my job to raise my child full-time. I don’t think that she wasn’t being critical but instead paying me a great compliment. She thought I could do the job best.

I do wish I had asked her more about how she came up with her signature sign-off. Maybe these words flowed from her mother, or an Irish proverb, or Dennis the Menace. But regardless, despite a warm sunny day dangling in front me tomorrow, I suppose I will trudge over to DoubleScoop, and imagine how best I could connect my grandmother with me.

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