I was browsing at a neighborhood coffee shop which has taken our local treat, “little library” boxes, indoors and turned it into a set of shelves to leave a book or take a book. When I saw a copy of “How to be Lovely — The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life” by Melissa Hellstern (Penguin Dutton, 2004), I decided to take it along and write about it. I discovered that parts of it are less Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations than Audrey’s Familiar Quotations, but they’re no less fun (nor less lovely) for that.
The world seems to be needing a bit more “loverly” things, as Audrey (and Eliza Doolittle) famously called them in “My Fair Lady,” so I’ll devote the next few posts to this little gem of a book. Consider it my way of sustaining the book in a different way than usual, because on the same day I picked it up, I also dropped it — and about half its pages went sprawling all over the floor of the bus on which I was reading it. (That’s sad, especially in light of a $17.95 price tag left on the back from a bookshop chain that’s closed long ago.)
So here are some of the book’s quotations from Audrey Hepburn, beginning with the chapter on Happiness. Here’s what’s best in Run with the Dogs:
“Who thinks you’re as fantastic as your dog does?”
“I walk with my dogs, which keeps me fit. I talk to my dogs, which keeps me sane. I can’t think of anything that makes me happier than to cuddle and play and start the day with a warm puppy.”
(No word on whether she said that before Charles M. Schulz’s Charlie Brown book, “Happiness is a Warm Puppy,” came out.)
The next part of Happiness is Grow Something. Here’s what Audrey said:
“I’m grateful for everything that’s green. When I didn’t have a dime, I held to the dream of one day having my own orchard with fruit trees and a place to grow vegetables.”
Personally, I think the loveliest part there might be “I held to the dream.”
Another part of Happiness is Be a Realist. Hellstern quotes from The New York Times’ obituary for the actress:
“Nearly forty years later Audrey Hepburn’s face was that of someone who’d squinted into the sun, laughed a few laughs, shed a few tears. The forehead showed some wrinkles, the eyes showed some more, and the strong jawline was softening around the edges.
“As unwilling to fake youth as she had been to fake voluptuousness, she looked like the 63-year-old woman she was. Which is to say, better than any 63-year-old woman who’s pretending that she isn’t.”
Growing old that gracefully… oh, wouldn’t it be loverly?
Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.
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