How Being Different Makes a Difference

Dear Caroline,

I know how different you are from so many other girls. I see how they act, what they wear, the cursing. I have an idea what goes on.

I’ve read the articles and seen the TV news, all about cursing and sex and drinking, all about getting pregnant and catching AIDS. So much stupidity flourishes out there. I know how you might have turned out, going to public schools as you have, mostly in Queens, then Manhattan.
But no. You’re you, after all, and Mom is Mom, and what you were always destined to be, above all, is a little lady. No small accomplishment, that.

Ladies are in short supply these days. Now, by the word “lady” you may think I mean a woman in a hoop skirt who enjoys high tea with her pinkie out.

No. I’m talking about a basic sense of propriety and manners and culture.

You know how to order in a restaurant without sounding like you think the waitress is beneath you.

You know how to make conversation in all kinds of company, and to cite your accomplishments without seeming to brag.

You speak with clarity and courtesy, and know the meaning of “please” and “thank you.”

You’re no stranger to Broadway theater and Lincoln Center and the city’s great museums, restaurants and landmarks.

You can hold your own with anyone.

I’m proud my daughter is a lady, just as you should be. A lady through and through, just like your mother and her mother before her – a third-generation lady. It’s a tradition well worth carrying on.

Sometimes different is good. Sometimes – yes, I’m going to say it – different is even better.

P.S. — Question of the day: Is “different” better . . . or worse . . . or just different?

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