Even though I loved and respected my family members, I knew none of them were my best friends because they were adults and lived in a different world than me, and I was a child in training. to be a responsible adult, and yes, I need a lot of training.
I never heard a child call an adult who was not a family member by their first name, and adults would not suggest that children do this.
My neighbors were the Dunnes, the Grissoms and the Bournes. I called them Mr. and Mrs. – or, in the case of the Grissoms, Dr and Mrs.
Shaking hands with adults was mandatory. I was taught to shake hands with men easily, but only to shake a woman’s hand if she reached out first.
I was told never to reach out to a wet fish. If my hand was wet, I had to wipe my hands on my pants before shaking a person’s hand. Also, the jerk I gave had to be firm but not to the point of trying to muscle the other person. Shaking my hand, I was told to look the person in the eye and tell them that I was either happy to meet them or to see them again.
I was asked to stand up when a woman entered the room and not sit down until she was seated. Opening doors for women was also part of my schooling in good manners.
My family also taught me good table manners. I was told not to speak when my mouth was full of food, to remove bones or fat from my mouth with a napkin, and not to reach across the table for a serving of food.
At the table I said: “Please pass the potatoes” and not “Give me the potatoes” and “Please pass the meat” and “Don’t give me a slice. From a cow “.
I also learned to use cutlery only for the purpose for which it was designed. I have been told more than once to never take more food than I expected and eat every bit of food I take, and leaving the table I had to apologize.
When someone gave me a gift or did me a favor, I was told to thank them, and if the person lived far away from me, I was told to write a thank-you note to the person.
When I was preparing for college, Mr. George Bruckert, our family lawyer, told me four life lessons:
Faithfully practice your religion.
Prepare your job to the best of your ability and don’t skimp.
Do not harbor arrogance because when a person thinks they are sexy, they will fail.
Listen to the elderly because they’ve been there and you will benefit from their advice.
Over the years, I have learned that good manners and the four life lessons Mr. Bruckert presented to me have served me well.