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Things My Mother Said: Grandmother Edition

My German-Swiss paternal grandmother, Gert, was a great believer in maxims. She told me that if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

Gert offered practical advice; no one ever got a dish or plate clean with a towel. I do that occasionally now and think of her while I’m doing it.

Gert loved the English translation of an old German maxim “We get too soon old and too late smart.”

Gert frequently called me a dummer Esel (dumb ass). And she used the German phrase Scheiß die Wand an, which literally means shit on the wall, but translates as “to hell with it.” She also said, “Zum Teufel mit ihnen,” meaning, literally, To The Devil With You.


Robert E. Malchman

For some reason, I'm reminded of the couplet:

If wishes were horses, rides would be free
If Huntley were Cronkite, we'd watch NBC.

I blame Ed and the MIT News Study Group for imprinting that on my brain.

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