Letter to the editor: You’re never too old to stop learning

Published 1:22 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

To the editor:

Recently, a quote from Henry Ford caught my eye: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” For the record, I’m not 20. A minister friend of ours, who prefers things in print, calls herself a dinosaur and I’m older than she is.

She’s not the only one who prefers reading from the printed page. Our generation learned to read seeing Dick, Jane and Spot run. Then, we bought our children lots and lots of Dr. Suess books including “Green Eggs and Ham” and “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” aiming to build a foundation to prepare them to thrive.

Words.

Meanwhile, we go to the library, have a large variety of printed material delivered by the postman, and wait for the daily paper in the driveway. Reading the weekly Enterprise Record means having access to hard news, human interest stories, editorials, letters with varying opinions, the creative Renegade writers, history, recipes and sports. I may even end up, like our respected Mrs. Magalene Gaither, clipping articles.

On the other hand, “Sometimes unspoken words speak the loudest.” (Anonymous)

For example, once I stood beside my Woman’s College dorm mate, first African-American female to graduate from Chapel Hill, editor of The Journalist her senior year, LA Times and Winston-Salem Journal retiree, 2012 inductee into the N.Ca. Journalism Hall of Fame, word smith friend – Karen L. Parker – looking at the Jesse Clement House. For a good while, she silently stared at it.

I dared not interrupt.

Maybe it was a Paul Simon’s “Sounds of Silence” moment. Earlier that day, there had been a chance meeting with Sylvia Steele; both knew they had enslaved ancestors from the Clement Plantation. As they talked, they discovered the two of them had the name Melinda on their family trees. Standing on the soil again, once visited during a family reunion, was this something new for Karen to ponder?

“Silence is not silent. It has lots of unspoken words.” (Anand Thaleur)

Printed words. Spoken words. Unspoken words. We’re never too old to live and learn from words. Hoping to keep the mind young.

Alice Garrett Brown,     Mocksville