portrait of Jessamyn West

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Quotes of the Day for 18 July 2004 – Jessamyn West

Mary Jessamyn West was born in Jennings County, Indiana on this day in 1902. Her Quaker family moved to Yorba Linda, California in 1909 and got a degree in English from Whittier College in 1923. While working on her PhD at the University of California at Berkeley in 1933 she was diagnosed as having terminal tuberculosis and spent two years in a sanitarium before being sent home to die. In 1945 she recovered, but during her long convalescence her mother told her stories of the Indiana farm country and Jessamyn began to write. Most of her short stories and novels deal with Quaker characters and families in Indiana, but I think these excerpts apply to anyone.

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You will find an expanded profile, photo, additional biographical links, and all quotes from this author on the author's Notable Quotable page.

The quotes:

A religious awakening which does not awaken the sleeper to love has roused him in vain.

Nothing is so dear, as what you're about to leave.

There are two barriers that often prevent communication between the young and their elders. The first is middle- aged forgetfulness of the fact that they themselves are no longer young. The second is youthful ignorance of the fact that the middle aged are still alive.

You make what seems a simple choice: choose a man or a job or a neighborhood - and what you have chosen is not a man or a job or a neighborhood, but a life.

Memory is a magnet. It will pull to it and hold only material nature has designed it to attract.

A rattlesnake that doesn't bite teaches you nothing.
     - All from Jessamyn West, 1902 - 1984

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