I like being young. I can sleep until noon, eat without fear of heartburn and laugh at those motorized scooter commercials. But there's one thing I'm looking forward to with age: wisdom. I want to have stores of advice born of experience, born of happiness, born of heartache. I want to learn useful tips and tricks through trial and error, to gain knowledge through study and learning, to know when things are small enough to laugh off, not cry over. Until I reach that ripe old age, though, I'll have to content myself with the sagacity of others.
So thank goodness I have people like Elspeth Marr to go to. Sadly, she's dead, but thanks to her great-great nephew, who found an old bundle of her letters and notes, her pearls of wisdom live on. And boy, are they alive and kicking.
Adultery, bunions, evolution and garlic: these are just a few of the topics that Christopher Rush’s great-great aunt Elspeth Marr expounded upon in a series of lifelong musings that were shockingly frank and progressive for her time. Born in 1871, Elspeth Marr was married but childless (perhaps by choice) and lived in the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland. Throughout her lifetime, she wrote copious letters and notes to an unnamed "young girl" about the nuts and bolts of life, as well as her views on more worldly matters. Never meant for publication, these notes languished in obscurity until Christopher Rush’s mother discovered them in a small brown suitcase long after his great-great aunt Epp passed away.
Sassy and opinionated, Aunt Epp was not afraid to voice her views and give her advice on topics ranging from adultery to wrinkles, God to genitals. In a time when mentioning such things would have been deemed unladylike and improper, Aunt Epp left nothing unsaid. Full of wit and erudition, not to mention homespun herbal remedies and witty verse, now Aunt Epp’s timeless wisdom can be shared and enjoyed by everyone.
*Aches and Pains: Make a marinade out of half a dozen big heads of garlic and a pint of brandy, and keep it to hand. Drink a teaspoon of this as soon as you wake and immediately after your quick cold bath. This is a good way to oil yourself into the day and is a great remedy for ancient or aching bones. Once you have gone the way of all the earth, your brandied and be-garlicked bones will do the earth a power of good, and you will be at peace together.
I have a review of Aunt Epp's Guide for Life coming next week, but if you'd like your own copy for perusal, today's your lucky day! I've got three copies to put into your sweaty little paws; to enter, email email@example.com with Aunt Epp in the subject line. Include your name+address in the body of the email. This contest is limited to residents of the U.S. You have through this Tuesday to enter, and I'll announce the winners this Thursday.