Response to Viral Valedictory Address

 

This morning, @kayofmt sent me this to post for her. It is exceptional.

This is in response to a young lady who wrote her Valedictory speech, decrying how her life might be ruined if Roe v. Wade wasn’t available to her.

This is a Valedictory by a young lady in a small town, Amity AR in 1934 at the heights of the depression before WWII. I have the idea that most young people will have no idea was the depression was all about, since history doesn’t seem to be taught in our schools anymore.

“Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
as the swift season roll.
Leave thy low-vaulted past.
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more bast,
Till thou at length are free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes

The poet who took that message from the life of a simple little sea animal, the chambered nautilus, has painted a beautiful picture for us that we might build our lives in like manner. The picture is splendid – a masterpiece; it is Godly; it portrays the beauty and the glory of living.

The picture tells the story of the chambered nautilus who starts out in life with one small shell for his home. But he is not content with his one small shell so as he grows larger he begins building another room. This room is bigger and better than the one in which he has been living. When the new room is completed he moves into it, and in order to forget the past, he closes the archway and thinks no ore of the old room. In his new home he keeps growing until he gets too large for it then he attaches another, a newer and better room. When it is finished he moves into it, and again he seals the archway leading back into the past. He thinks of only of the future. As the years go on the chambered nautilus is quietly and slowly toiling onward. He builds new rooms that lead him to a broader, higher life. Each room is of finer workmanship than the one preceding. The chambered nautilus lives and learns and weaves his knowledge into his castle. Then when the end of time comes for this little animal, his shell is washed upon the beach and is left there, a record of the faithfulness and complete worthiness of the Chambered nautilus.

Dear friends, lives of men are built like that. When we, this class of ’34, came into the world our room was very small. But we began to grow; and we soon outgrew our little home. We wanted broader experiences; we wanted to know how to do things and why we did them. Then came the most inportant day in our lives – the day we entered school. We went into our new little room and sealed the door forever to the past. Slowly but surely the years went by while we toiled, we learned, we conquered

There were no corners of the room we did not know. We mastered our problems when they came. Often they were difficult but we were fitting ourselves for a new and better room, which we were adding to our lives. At last the day came to finish grammar school, and we were permitted to enter the room for which we had been preparing. High school was indeed a new room to our home but we reveled in the mystery of it – the many chances we were to have to learn of the world that G-d has given us. We have worked faithfully at our task. Perhaps there are a few corners, which we did not explore thoroughly but we feel that we have learned most of them, and we are ready to enter a newer, more adventurous room, leading us ever upward to a higher plane.

Tonight my friends, you are witnessing a ceremony dear to the hearts of each one in this graduating class. For tonight we are closing the door of our last-loved home, leaving forever behind the scenes so familiar to us. Those nooks and corners we loved so well – they seem to breathe the live and whisper to us, urging us ever upward and onward. We must go.

Our parents, it is you who have made possible this room of our lives. It is you who understood our longing to gain knowledge and we pay you your rightful tribute. We honor you; we love you, mothers and fathers, because you have made us what we are.

To our teachers: You too deserve laurels for the patience and loving kindness you have shown us. For the splendid examples you have been by living pure, upright lives. And to you we wish to express our appreciation. We shall not forget the things you have taught us; we will keep them and weave them into  our castles.

Classmate, we have come to the parting of our ways. Tonight, as we close the door to our past we are entering our new world of experience. We are beginning a life that take us our to seek our place among men. We are going into the largest and most significant room of our lives at a crisis in the world’s history. There has never been an age exactly like this one before; and the soci8al and economic turmoil has made conditions difficult in all parts of our land. We are facing new problems; let us conquer them. Let us prove worthy of our heritage. May so live that when our shell is washed upon the Sands of Time, and we pass on the the Great Beyond, we will have left behind us a record so noble, so beautiful, and so worthy that it will be an inspiration to those who follow in our footsteps.

Valedictory by Anna Sue Menasco
May 25, 1934

Published in Culture
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  1. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Anna Sue was my mother.

    • #1
  2. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    That was beautiful. And inspiring to me even now as I approach 65 and all that that might mean.

    • #2
  3. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    That generation was made of sterner stuff. Education complemented those qualities then. Education, now, far too often creates wormholes and weakens the native timber. 

    • #3
  4. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    My mother expected to receive a scholarship to college. However a lower ranking student, a male, was given it instead. The depression in full bloom in 1934. So my mom got married, had a baby, went to CA and had a second baby, me. Then even had a third child. However, she quit her job at the Air Field after WWII, and went to Redlands University, graduated then went on to Colgate Rochester Divinity School, was Ordained then received a scholarship to Hebrew University in Israel for a year.  She later attended University of Southern CA for another degree.  She didn’t find it necessary to abort her children to achieve her goals. My mother was a remarkable woman, and she died of dementia at age 82.

    Thank you Scarecrow and Rodin for posting. And thanks to RushBabe for posting my mother’s speech.

    • #4
  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    My mother expected to receive a scholarship to college. However a lower ranking student, a male, was given it instead. The depression in full bloom in 1934. So my mom got married, had a baby, went to CA and had a second baby, me. Then even had a third child. However, she quit her job at the Air Field after WWII, and went to Redlands University, graduated then went on to Colgate Rochester Divinity School, was Ordained then received a scholarship to Hebrew University in Israel for a year. She later attended University of Southern CA for another degree. She didn’t find it necessary to abort her children to achieve her goals. My mother was a remarkable woman, and she died of dementia at age 82.

    Thank you Scarecrow and Rodin for posting. And thanks to RushBabe for posting my mother’s speech.

    Sounds like a woman who didn’t need a lot of coaching to come up with that speech. It doesn’t sound like one that high school teachers who try to steer such things would have come up with anyway. 

    • #5
  6. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    I went through her year book again last night and found another speech she wrote when she was 16. Not quite as passionate as the chambered nautilus, but very good. She had a knack for writing.

    I haven’t found it yet in all the boxes she left me, but she rewrote the first part of the book of Mark, as she felt there was several authors working at odds. Her professor, gave her a big A+. When I find it, will post it.

    • #6
  7. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    I went through her year book again last night and found another speech she wrote when she was 16. Not quite as passionate as the chambered nautilus, but very good. She had a knack for writing.

    I haven’t found it yet in all the boxes she left me, but she rewrote the first part of the book of Mark, as she felt there was several authors working at odds. Her professor, gave her a big A+. When I find it, will post it.

    That I would definitely like to read. 

    • #7