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Mistakes We Make & Auf Wiedersehen

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By Nancy Huth

We are all human; therefore, we all make mistakes. Despite this fact, we do tend to overlook our own and take note of the mistakes of others.  I know I am guilty of this, perhaps because we need to feel a bit superior, even if in a small way.  When I read the New York Times, it consoles me to see their list of “Corrections” in every issue.  When you are under a deadline, the chance of a mistake is greater.  

From time to time the Middlefield Post also contains a spelling, grammar or factual error, despite proofreading. Luckily this is not life-threatening, even if some readers believe otherwise. When I proofread for another newspaper, some of us would overlook the misspelling of a perfectly normal word because our brains read it correctly. My German husband spots errors in newspapers because English is not his native tongue and his brain doesn’t automatically correct a word.

When I lived in Germany, I always ran my personal letters past my husband before sending them. Once, instead of stating in German that, unfortunately, we had to put Dieter’s parents in a nursing home, I wrote that, unfortunately we had to kill them. And Dieter once spoke to a newly retired man saying, “It must be nice to be retarded. I wish I were retarded like you.”  At least we can laugh later and enjoy telling these tales.

Auf Wiedersehen

Now my days of making mistakes in the Middlefield Post have come to an end. Dieter and I will be moving from this lovely town to begin the next stage of our lives. My first article for this paper was published in 2007.  I have met so many interesting people over the years and am grateful for the opportunities that came my way as a staff writer. I want to especially thank all the readers who took time to tell me they liked a particular article. This is the best reward a writer can receive. It’s difficult to say goodbye, so I will say it in the words of one of my favorite poets, Hermann Hesse, who wrote a poem called “Stages.” (“Stufen” in German”)

As every flower fades and as all youth

departs, so life at every stage,

so every virtue, so our grasp of truth,

blooms in its day and may not last forever.

Since life may summon us at every age,

be ready, heart, for parting, new endeavor,

be ready bravely and without remorse

to find new light that old ties cannot give.

In all beginnings dwells a magic force

for guarding us and helping us to live.

Serenely let us move to distant places

and let no sentiments of home detain us.

The cosmic spirit seeks not to restrain us

but lifts us up stage by stage to wider spaces.

If we accept a home of our own making,

familiar habit makes for indolence.

We must prepare for parting and leave-taking

or else we remain the slaves of permanence.

Even the hour of our death may send

us speeding on to fresh and newer spaces,

and life may summon us to newer races.

So be it, heart; so bid farewell and mend.

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