Spotlight On: What's On The List?
by Rachael O'Halloran
Published July 26, 2014
In this day and age, we make lists mostly so we won't forget something. Many of us use lists as a way to keep organized. The movie "The Bucket List" has made them popular, if only in jest.
Famous people left behind some rather noteworthy lists that I thought I would share with you. I enjoyed the story behind each list very interesting and I hope you do too.
Albert Einstein was a prolific letter writer and a note jotter. Barbara Wolff, who oversees Albert Einstein's Archives at The Hebrew University in London told the BBC that they have on hand about 3,500 pages of private correspondence which Einstein wrote between 1912 and 1955.
Albert Einstein was married twice. His first wife's name was Mileva Marić - she was his student, who literally gave up her scientific career when she met him. They were married in 1903, had three children and were divorced in 1919. Mileva never remarried and died in 1948.
Of particular interest to me is a list which was a condition of staying married to his first wife, long after they had given up any hope for the marriage.
Around 1914, after living in such a difficult household, Einstein suggested they stay married for the sake of the children but only if she followed a list of conditions (requests). Even though since 1912, he was already involved with future wife, first cousin Elsa Lowenthal, the Einsteins lived apart for five years and divorced in 1919. Soon after divorce from Mileva was final, Albert married Elsa, adopted her two children, and remained married to her death in 1936. Einstein died in 1955.
According to the book, "Einstein: His Life And Universe" by Walter Isaacson, Albert's list of conditions were as follows:
"You will make sure:
- that my clothes and laundry are kept in good order;
- that I will receive my three meals regularly in my room;
- that my bedroom and study are kept neat, and especially that my desk is left for my use only.
You will renounce all personal relations with me insofar as they are not completely necessary for social reasons. Specifically, You will forego:
- my sitting at home with you;
- my going out or travelling with you.
You will obey the following points in your relations with me:
- you will not expect any intimacy from me, nor will you reproach me in any way;
- you will stop talking to me if I request it;
- you will leave my bedroom or study immediately without protest if I request it.
- you will undertake not to belittle me in front of our children, either through words or behavior."
How's that for a list of demands? --- er, conditions, I mean.
He, his wife and both their lawyers met to put the legal separation in writing. It may come as no surprise to you after reading the "conditions list," that his wife and children soon left for Zurich. She could afford it. Einstein promised her more than half of his annual salary which she would receive for the length of the separation agreement - five years.
Except for his annual month long trips to Switzerland to see his children, he did not recover a good relationship with them until they were adult age.
Ernest Hemingway, Author & Journalist
Ernest Hemingway was a famous and favorite author born on July 21, 1899 and died on July 2, 1961. His writing mostly mirrored his life experiences and his books are classics.
In February 1936, he gave Esquire Magazine a list of 17 books he would enjoy re-reading.
- Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
- Far Away and Long Ago, by W. H. Hudson
- Buddenbrooks, by Thomas Mann
- Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë
- Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert
- War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
- A Sportsman's Sketches, by Ivan Turgenev
- The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- Hail and Farewell, by George Moore
- Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
- Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson
- La Reine Margot, by Alexandre Dumas
- La Maison Tellier, by Guy de Maupassant
- Le Rouge et le Noir, by Stendhal
- La Chartreuse de Parme, by Stendhal
- Dubliners, by James Joyce
- Autobiographies, by W. B. Yeats
Nora Ephron, Author
If you don't recognize her name, you'll recognize her work. She was the screenwriter author of “Sleepless in Seattle” and “When Harry Met Sally.” She died June 26, 2012 at age 71, after a six year battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, an aggressive leukemia which she pretty much kept to herself and her circle of friends.
In her book "I Remember Nothing," she dropped subtle hints of her impending death to her readers with these two lists beginning on page 132:
What I Will Miss
My kids · Nick · Spring · Fall · Waffles · The concept of waffles · Bacon · A walk in the park · The idea of a walk in the park · The park · Shakespeare in the Park · The bed · Reading in bed · Fireworks · Laughs · The view out the window · Twinkle lights · Butter · Dinner at home just the two of us · Dinner with friends · Dinner with friends in cities where none of us lives · Paris · Next year in Istanbul · Pride and Prejudice · The Christmas tree · Thanksgiving dinner · One for the table · The dogwood · Taking a bath · Coming over the bridge to Manhattan · Pie
What I Won’t Miss
Dry skin · Bad dinners like the one we went to last night · E-mail · Technology in general · My closet · Washing my hair · Bras · Funerals · Illness everywhere · Polls that show that 32 percent of the American people believe in creationism · Polls · Fox · The collapse of the dollar · Joe Lieberman · Clarence Thomas · Bar mitzvahs · Mammograms · Dead flowers · The sound of the vacuum cleaner · Bills · E-mail. I know I already said it, but I want to emphasize it. · Small print · Panels on Women in Film · Taking off makeup every night
Rudyard Kipling, Author
Born Joseph Rudyard Kipling on December 30, 1865, he was an English author of The Jungle Book, Gunga Din and many other short stories, novels and poems.
He died January 18, 1936.
One of his children, a 12 year old daughter, was preparing in 1908 to leave for a season in London. He had this list for her:
I send you a few simple rules for Life in London.
- Wash early and often with soap and hot water.
- Do not roll on the grass of the parks. It will come off black on your dress.
- Never eat penny buns, oysters, periwinkles or peppermints on the top of a bus. It annoys the passengers.
- Be kind to policemen. You never know when you may be taken up.
- Never stop a motor bus with your foot. It is not a croquet ball.
- Do not attempt to take pictures off the wall of the National Gallery or to remove cases of butterflies from the National History Museum. You will be noticed if you do.
- Avoid late hours, pickled salmon, public meetings, crowded crossings, gutters, water-carts and over-eating.
Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues
In 1726, at the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin devised a list of 13 virtues to live by "without committing any fault at any time."
He worked on one virtue per week and kept progress notes. Here is his list of 13 virtues from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (free at Gutenberg Press):
- TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
- SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
- ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
- RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
- FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
- INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
- SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
- JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
- MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
- CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
- TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
- CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
- HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Hubpages keeps saying the link to BFranklin's 13 virtues is bad, so I have included a screenshot of the 13 virtues.
Ben Franklin's 13 virtues
Johnny Cash's List That Started It All
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© Rachael O'Halloran, July 26, 2014
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© 2014 Rachael O'Halloran