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'You Learn from Living'


David Greenberger spends his time traveling around the country collecting old people's stories. This one comes from Anna Traut, who lives in Portland, Oregon.

(Soundbite of music)


`My husband's father was a genius. He had 16 patents in his own name, and he was a brain. But he had no feeling, just all brains. My husband, he did as little as possible. He didn't like to work. I don't remember how long we were married, but it seemed like a long time. It was a lot of fun to start with. He just got a little sober when he got older, not much fun, and you gotta keep me laughing if you want to make me happy.

`Anyway, he died. Gosh, I can't remember when he died, but he died early. My daughter was still young. He never appreciated her. After that, it was just me and my daughter, and I loved every minute of it. We were such good buddies that I didn't think she was missing anything, but maybe I was wrong. That's how it goes. Anybody who thinks they can get away without having bad times is not reading the fine print. It's part of the deal; it's a big part of the deal. You see, my mother was only educated through the fourth grade of school, and she was as smart as anybody I ever knew. So you don't need an education; you just gotta have a good mind and be willing to learn. You learn from living, and I have lived.'

NORRIS: That was David Greenberger relating a story he heard from Anna Traut of Portland, Oregon. The music is from a group called 3 Leg Torso.

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.