RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Quotes

Celebrating Anne Sullivan

Posted on

Anne Sullivan & Helen KellerWhile many people know the name of Helen Keller, fewer are likely to be as familiar with the name of Anne Sullivan; she was the teacher, and lifelong companion of her famous student, and for 49 years she stayed by Helen’s side.  Born in 1866 to Irish immigrants, Anne went blind as a child after suffering from untreated trachoma.  She attended the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston; after a surgery her vision was partially restored, but she remained visually impaired.  She met Helen Keller, 14 years her junior, when she was recommended as teacher to the young girl in Tuscumbia, Alabama.  Because Helen had been left blind and deaf from a disease when a toddler, she had been trapped in her silent darkness until Anne taught her to break free.

The  first major breakthrough came when Anne was able to teach Helen the association between the sign word for “water”, made on one of Helen’s hands, while running water over her other hand.  When she realized the connection, and that every object had a unique sign, Helen became an avid student, hungry for the signs that would at last help her communicate to the outside world.

Through Anne’s help, Helen went on to become the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, became a world famous writer and advocate for women’s suffrage, labour and disability rights.  The two women travelled to over forty countries as spokeswomen for the rights of the disabled.  Helen once said, “Once I knew only darkness and stillness… my life was without past or future… but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.”  In this sense, Anne Sullivan is an unsung heroine who rescued Keller from the dark silence, and gave us a legacy of astounding courage, optimism and spirit through the writings of Helen Keller.

Here are ten more of my favourite quotes by Helen Keller:

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.”

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”

“People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant.”

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.”

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”

“I can see, and that is why I can be happy, in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. I can see a God-made world, not a man-made world.”

Save

Famous Last Words: Karl Marx

Posted on

“Go on, get out – last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.” To his housekeeper, who urged him to tell her his last words so she could write them down for posterity.

Karl Marx, revolutionary, d. 1883

Everyone has last words; Karl Marx blew his last opportunity to go down in history with something intelligent…

Karl Marx, 1875.  Image Credit:  Wikipedia

Karl Marx, 1875. Image Credit: Wikipedia

A Sailor of King George

Posted on

Captain Frederick Hoffman, HMS Apelles - 1808

As part of the research I’m conducting for a novel I’m working on, I’ve just finished reading a rip-roaring tale of high adventure – and it’s all true!  Straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were, from an officer and gentleman who saw and survived 45 years in His Majesty’s navy (according to his own reckoning at the end of the tale).  Captain Hoffman, who began as a lowly mid (midshipman), survived yellow fever twice, was a prisoner of war twice, lost the hearing in one ear (and part of the ear), survived countless battles (including Trafalgar), and spent years at a time separated from his family, yet all with a keen eye for detail, and a sailor’s knack for conveying what he saw with humour and a vivid imagination.  He had a tongue-in-cheek writing style, and I found myself laughing many a time at his gentlemanly wording of euphemisms, such as when they attacked an enemy vessel and boarded her: “She (the ship) received us as warmly as if she had known us for years. I took the liberty of shooting a man in her main rigging who was inclined to do me the same kind office, had I not saved him the trouble.”

He also had an amazing repertoire of similes, and here are just a few:

  • “don’t be after splicing yourself (getting married) until you have a commission, and if you do then, you will have as much business with a wife as a cow has with a side pocket…”
  • “I walked the deck as surly as a bear with the Caledonian rash.”
  • “…(sitting) on the back of an animal as obstinate as a boat’s crew…”
  • …”we were as helpless as a cow in a jolly-boat…” (due to being short-handed)
  • “We were drifting like a pig upon a grating, and as helpless as a sucking shrimp…”
  • “My mind was like a coal-barge in a waterspout when I heard…”
  • “…his eyes glistening like a Cornish diamond…”
  • “Our prizes (ships captured, to be sold for prize money) made their eyes shine like a dollar in a bucket of water, and their mouths water like a sick monkey’s eyes with a violent influenza.”
  • “…we daylighted the anchor, mastheaded the sails, crested the briny wave like a Yankee sea-serpent…”
HMS Apelles

HMS Apelles; Illustration from the book.

Captain Hoffman was commander of several vessels, including the HMS Apelles; Wikipedia has an interesting article regarding the fate of that particular ship; Hoffman was taken prisoner as a consequence of his gallant actions, and spent over two years as a POW in France; Bonaparte refused the usual gentleman’s agreement of prisoner exchange, leaving men to languish in prisons until he was defeated and deposed (for the first time, in April 1814).

This gem of a book can be found free of charge at Gutenberg.org, and I would highly recommend reading it if you have any interest in military history, natural history, or social history, or just love a good tale – Hoffman covers it all!

 

10 Quotes on History

Posted on

history-quotes-4

History never looks like history when you are living through it. ~John W. Gardner

Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all: the conscientious historian will correct these defects. ~Herodotus, The History of Herodotus

History: gossip well told. ~Elbert Hubbard, The Roycroft Dictionary

History is a symphony of echoes heard and unheard. It is a poem with events as verses. ~Charles Angoff

History is a kind of introduction to more interesting people than we can possibly meet in our restricted lives; let us not neglect the opportunity. ~Dexter Perkins

If one could make alive again for other people some cobwebbed skein of old dead intrigues and breathe breath and character into dead names and stiff portraits. That is history to me! ~George Macaulay Trevelyan

The history of the world is the record of a man in quest of his daily bread and butter. ~Hendrik Wilhelm van Loon, The Story of Mankind

Historians are gossips who tease the dead. ~Voltaire, Scribbling Books

History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up. ~Voltaire

Ten Great Winston Churchill Quotes

Posted on

Winston ChurchillWinston Churchill was a great statesman, orator, and had a caustic wit.  Here are ten great quotes:

 

“When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.”

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

“Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

“For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use to be anything else.”

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

“A lady came up to me one day and said ‘Sir! You are drunk’, to which I replied ‘I am drunk today madam, and tomorrow I shall be sober but you will still be ugly.”

 

 

%d bloggers like this: