Words, good and bad, help make memories

Do you remember when we were kids we used to say, “Sticks and stones will hurt my bones, but words can never hurt me?” We were so wrong! Words are so powerful! That’s why I enjoy writing. I try to make you readers get yourselves ready for a good life, or at least a good day. When we think positive, we are rewarded, but if we fill our minds and hearts with negative thoughts and words, we hurt ourselves and those around us.

Think seriously about these things. Words can ruin reputations and destroy relationships.

Here are some of the words that bring verbal abuse — anger, jealousy, gossip, snide remarks, unforgiveness, “I’ll show her or him or them!”

Hitting back either verbally or actually. When we do those things, we become like them! Is that what we want? Or can we train ourselves to let go and let God? His ways are always better than our ways. You don’t have to be religious to do this — it’s common sense. Common good. It’s not always easy. Sometimes we want to hang on to our anger and harsh words. Train yourself to let go and like yourself for it! Soon it will be a way of life!

It is said that good memories are the best gift you can give. Boy, was I blessed with good memories! Here are some of mine. My sister Grace was 19 when she passed away. I was 3 years old, but thanks to her, I was named Margaret. Then came my sister Louise. She was like a second mother to me. She taught me the facts of life. When she finished, she asked me how I felt about it and I said, “I was sorry I had kicked my mother.”

Then she taught citizenship classes at night and I helped the people with their questions and answers. They called me “the little teacher” in Italian. I always wanted to be a teacher. Next came my brother Russell, “Roddy.” He taught all the new dance steps. He used to go to New York City and learn them. Then he’d come home and teach us and we taught everybody. But probably, Roddy and Rose changed my life most. They owned Ricky’s Fashion Shoppe. I had just finished my second year at college and they needed someone to run the beauty shoppe that was connected to their dress shoppe. They said they needed someone they could trust in there. Why didn’t I go to beauty school? I thought about it. In 1945, teaching jobs were hard to get. So I thought I could help my family and myself, so I took them up on it.

As it happened, they said I was a natural hair cutter. My mother’s father was a barber. His grandson was a hairdresser, and he moved to England with his two sons. The youngest son was voted among the 10 best hairdressers in England. I never stopped learning. I loved to travel so I went to England, Paris and Italy. I loved people and it was a perfect job. So it turned out fine for me. When my brother Tony was 18 months old, the family moved to the U.S. Later, he became a principal on Long Island. Before that happened, he was the first Italian male to become president of his senior class at Fredonia State. He was so likable!

Then my sister Josephine Christopher (not “Josie”) and I were born in Fredonia. Now do I have good memories or not? I have been blessed. Jo and I grew up here and we never argued. Then I married into the Valone family, who were an extension of the Leone family.

Today I am the only Valone left of my generation, and they treat me great! Fredonia is a great place to live, and Westfield is a great place to find a husband! I have great memories!

How are yours? You still have time to make new ones!

By the way, the John Joy family of Water Street (my father’s sister) sponsored us.