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Thread: Most influential person you knew personally?

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    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Most influential person you knew personally?

    Who in your life influenced you the most and why? This needs to be someone you knew personally and interacted with.
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Wow. What a great question.

    I can't get away from naming my family, but if I had to narrow that pool down I'd say my father and my uncle.

    Even though my father was a drunken perfectionist and artist who died from alcoholism on the side of a building in the Bowery, and my uncle (my father's brother) was a Yale grad and an overachiever in business and social standing who died at his million dollar home in the Florida Keys, those two were a perfect pair to dazzle me when I was young.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    ...those two were a perfect pair to dazzle me when I was young.
    I bet!
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

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    Its a tie between my mom, my dad, and my husband. Ive spent decades with each one. Dad taught me to work hard and stop complaining. Mom taught me to interact with babies and children in an empathetic and age appropriate manner. SO taught me to take a chance and stop worrying about the risk.

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    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    It’s a girl I met in college, 40 years ago. When you are young you develop this personality that is a mix of influences and for me I hadn’t really grown any roots at all. I didn’t really know who I was, what I believed in, what I stood for, what I wouldn’t stand for, who I would stand up for.....who I wouldn’t. I just stood. And I tried to stand out with this personality I threw together for no specific reasons except out of necessity I guess.

    And then I met this girl. She had a direction, a purpose, a meaning, you could tell she was genuine and couldn’t be easily swayed but still had this open mind. She was so mature for her age and I latched onto that. I wanted to be mature. So she helped me look inside past the personality I projected right at who I was and she helped me get that out front where people could see it.

    She influenced me more than anyone probably has not because she was more important than anyone else but that she was there at that right moment. And then she was gone. Forty years have passed. She’s still gone but yet she’s here. Every time I look inward and pull out another real part of me for others to see....I thank her for just being there for me if only for a brief ephemeral moment.

    She had this favorite record called “Blue”. It was a Joni Mitchell album and really different from anything I was listening to at the time. The first song on that record makes me thing of her. “I am on a lonely road and I am traveling....l”

    I was lucky to have a person like her to influence me.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsmith View Post
    It’s a girl I met in college, 40 years ago. When you are young you develop this personality that is a mix of influences and for me I hadn’t really grown any roots at all. I didn’t really know who I was, what I believed in, what I stood for, what I wouldn’t stand for, who I would stand up for.....who I wouldn’t. I just stood. And I tried to stand out with this personality I threw together for no specific reasons except out of necessity I guess.

    And then I met this girl. She had a direction, a purpose, a meaning, you could tell she was genuine and couldn’t be easily swayed but still had this open mind. She was so mature for her age and I latched onto that. I wanted to be mature. So she helped me look inside past the personality I projected right at who I was and she helped me get that out front where people could see it.

    She influenced me more than anyone probably has not because she was more important than anyone else but that she was there at that right moment. And then she was gone. Forty years have passed. She’s still gone but yet she’s here. Every time I look inward and pull out another real part of me for others to see....I thank her for just being there for me if only for a brief ephemeral moment.

    She had this favorite record called “Blue”. It was a Joni Mitchell album and really different from anything I was listening to at the time. The first song on that record makes me thing of her. “I am on a lonely road and I am traveling....l”

    I was lucky to have a person like her to influence me.

    Blue is my favorite album ever by anyone. I have listened to it more than any other record. She must have been an amazing young woman.
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    Wow. What a great question.

    I can't get away from naming my family, but if I had to narrow that pool down I'd say my father and my uncle.

    Even though my father was a drunken perfectionist and artist who died from alcoholism on the side of a building in the Bowery, and my uncle (my father's brother) was a Yale grad and an overachiever in business and social standing who died at his million dollar home in the Florida Keys, those two were a perfect pair to dazzle me when I was young.
    I realize I forgot the "why" part of the question, and also the "how/in what way". I've been thinking about this and I've had to frame it as "Who is at least partly responsible for why I am the way I am?" and I stand by my answers. I'd love to say my mother influenced me, and of course she did in some ways, but she did more to influence me when I was an adult and she was in her "second life" post-aneurysm. At that time she taught me that even if you suffer a catastrophe you can live your life engulfed with serenity, wisdom and compassion. Her influence in that way has taken much of the fear out of my life.

    To elaborate on my flip answer above about my "two dads" (my uncle gave me away at my wedding), my father and uncle taught me to seek excellence, and to be a renaissance man/woman in life--develop multiple talents and be smart. My uncle, although he had plenty of money, was always doing things himself--he designed and built his own house, planted an orchard, lived in a cabin without plumbing or electricity for a while after his divorce, and was a serial entrepreneur. My father taught me to read, draw and paint, and had lengthy discussions with me, on philosophy, or we would have fun critical analyses of the singers of the day.

    The other influence on my life was my great-aunt--the one I speak of often, who exuded class and grace and good cheer every day of her life until she died at 92.

    Finally, I have to give a shout-out to the teachers or employers who gave me a compliment along the way. I've found in my life that the smallest offhand positive remarks have been the "wind beneath my wings" so to speak.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Can you edit your title as your asking one question in it, and another with the second sentence? The answer to the first, is to me similar to a question once posted on another forum I am a member of "who here knows someone famous". That isn't likely to generate good results, as way too many times it leads to problems.
    The second question, would certainly lead to a debate in my mind. I have one relative that springs to mind, while another relative planted what I would respond as the first value/lesson I remember learning, that has probably had as much affect. Then if it wasn't for "knowing personally", another answer could be given, about a fictitious tv character, that taught me about dueling values/viewpoints and seeing things from different sides.
    Grandmother/father/Archie Bunker

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Most influential:

    My great grandfather.

    Why:

    I used to spend the days with my great-grandparents while my parents were at work. My great-grandfather taught me so many things: skills, ways of thinking, moral philosophy, too many to count. And not by lecturing, but by quietly doing and letting me participate.

    For a man of his era and position, he was also way ahead of his time. He was a blacksmith, and had a small farm. In his rather extensive basement, which was full of mysterious workshops and tools, he had a hidden sanctum - a room, clean, well-lit, with a table and several chairs. And the walls lined with Popular Science, Astounding Stories, Galaxy, Weird Tales - all the classic Golden Era sci fi pulps, and many of the similar fantasy and mystery pulps. And books - the whole run of Tom Swift, Tarzan, Conan, and all the sci fi greats of the era. I'd sit down there and read the sci fi/fantasy, and then the engineering and science magazines and texts.

    My reward for helping out around the farm or in his shop was unfettered time in that magical room. He and I would sit there and quietly read, sometimes discussing something of particular interest, sometimes him answering my questions about How The Future Would Be.

    He taught me to read when I was about 5.

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    I love that magical room.

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