Penelope Anne Jambeau had always loved the idea of tea parties, gardening clubs, ladies' luncheons, bridge games on the veranda....anything that hinted of society and refinement and lovely breeding and manners. There was just one problem!..... so after years of her best efforts, endless etiquette classes, French and Italian lessons, ballroom and ballet, and deportment, and posture and poise, and elocution, and dieting...and all the money for the right wardrobe and accessories from the finest couturiers, poor, poor Penelope finally had a breakdown. She was hospitalized for months during the Winter of 1915!!.... her prognosis was extremely grim. And then, one morning, very early... it was the 6th of May, she rose from her iron bed, went to the barred windows of her ward, and smiled....actually smiled!! When the doctors and nurses came to her room on morning rounds, they found her fully dressed in a charming ensemble, with gloves!...and a matching chapeau and parasol. She signed herself out of the hospital, and began a life free of envy, and remorse, and longing for the things that were not hers to have. But full of celebration, and joy, and gratitude for the things that were hers..and hers alone! She had learned the most wonderful lesson of all; that the hardest (and easiest) job one ever has is to be oneself. To be oneself...."because everyone else is taken"... That's what her Uncle Oscar had written to her.... and she knew it was true... It was perhaps the truest thing that anyone could ever teach ...or learn.
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