As soon as I graduated from high school, in 1960, we moved to Gardiner. My step-father had recently resumed being a lawyer, and he continued at this until his death twenty years later. Soon, Mom became his legal secretary in the part-time law office he maintained in Rosendale, NY, where they had moved after a year or two in Gardiner. She also wrote part-time for the Kingston Daily Freeman newspaper.
- The first tenet was that life is precious (and as Doug states is a corollary: that is because and why it is finite).
- God created all things---Mom would say, "look at a tiger, a giraffe, a goldfish, all intelligently designed by the hand of God, and that's not an accident."
- Family (broadly defined) is the most important group, and here I include such close friends as Michael Chamberlain and Phil and Ginny Nodhturft. All other relationships fade with time. Only family stays with you.
Some anecdotes about Mom, especially her wit; the entirety would be T.N.T.C., which from my days as a bacteriologist [before his law degree and then his career in automotive sales finance management] means "Too Numerous to Count":
- A solicitor called her on the telephone and prefaced his spiel with, "Mrs. Cooper, don't you want to be a millionaire?" In all sincerity, consistent with how she lived in a non-materialistic fashion, she responded, "No!"
- She loved Christmas and made sure that each of her children got the same number of presents. During one such celebration she became concerned I was one gift short. I reassured her that it was O.K. with me, that my "pile" was plenty high, although I too feared I may have come up short. She searched and searched throughout the room and the discarded wrapping paper, and sure enough...found one more, mine, behind the tree.