Damn! “06880” missed Joan Walsh Anglund’s 90th birthday by a day.
I’m sure she’d have something wise, clever — and very, very soothing — to say about that.
The poet/author/illustrator — who spent many years in Westport, and raised her children here — wrote over 120 children’s and inspirational books. They’ve sold more than 50 million copies, and been translated into 17 languages.
Among her most famous quotes:
- Do not be sad that you have suffered. Be glad that you have lived.
- Life is in the living. Love is in the giving.
- Where is the yesterday that worried us so?
Wikipedia says that last year, a US Postal Service stamp commemorating Maya Angelou contained Anglund’s quote “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song” — seemingly tying it to Angelou.
That’s not the first time. President Obama wrongly attributed the sentence to Angelou when he presented the 2013 National Medal of Arts and Humanities to her.
“I hope it’s successful,” Anglund said of the stamp when it was issued.
In the 1960s and early ’70s, Staples High School principal James Calkins — who spoke often of the importance of love — frequently quoted Anglund to the student body.
When Calkins left Staples, Anglund’s daughter — a student there — thanked him using her mother’s words: “I did not hear the words you said. Instead, I heard the love.”
A website dedicated to Anglund lists a few of her famous fans: Eleanor Roosevelt, Queen Elizabeth, Cary Grant, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Ethel Kennedy, Carol Burnett, Helen Hayes, Phyllis Diller, Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Rosemary Clooney, Shirley Jones, the Emperor of Japan and Elizabeth Taylor.
And, it adds helpfully, “etc.”
“06880” joins Joan Walsh Anglund’s many admirers — in Westport, and the world — in saying: “Happy 90th birthday!”
Or, to quote herself: “A (person’s) health can be judged by which he takes two at a time: pills or stairs.”