Babe Didrikson Zaharias quote about her childhood

Babe Didrikson Zaharias

“You never saw anybody more excited than I was that night at the railroad station in Beaumont, Texas, back in February 1930. Here I was, just a little old high-school girl, wanting to be a big athlete. And now I was getting a chance to go with an insurance company in Dallas and play on their basketball team in the women’s national championships.

It was an overnight sleeper trip to Dallas, about 275 miles from Beaumont. To me, that was like going to Europe. I’d never been more than a few miles away from home in my life. I’d hardly ever been so dressed up, either, I was wearing the blue silk dress with box pleats that I’d made in school, and won a prize with at the Texas State Fair. I had on my patent leather shoes, and socks, and the little hat I’d got for graduation exercises at junior high school. I was carrying a black patent leather purse. It had my entire fortune in it the $3.49 change from the money they’d given me to buy the railroad tickets.

My dad was traveling with me. I took the tipper berth and Poppa took the lower. He propped himself up with his newspaper and started puffing away on his big black pipe, the way he always did at home. For a while there they thought that Pullman car was on fire.

In Dallas the next morning Col. M. J. McCombs, the man who was in charge of the basketball team, met us at the station with the big yellow Cadillac he used for driving the girls around to games. He had a redcap take our bags and put them in the car, and then tipped him a quarter.

I said to Poppa, “Look at that! He gets a quarter just for carrying those bags out. Man, I’d like to get me a job like that!”

I bet I’ve traveled a couple of million miles since then, competing all around the United States and in other parts of the world, but that first trip was the start of everything. Even then I had other ideas besides playing basketball.”

– Babe Didrikson Zaharias, who would become a star in golf, basketball, baseball, and track and field. She won two gold medals in track and field at the 1932 Summer Olympics, 10 LPGA major championships.

Source: “This Life I’ve Led by Babe Didrikson Zaharias


James Baldwin quote about growing up reading

James Baldwin

“I was born in Harlem, thirty-one years ago. I began plotting novels about the time I learned to read. The story of my childhood is the usual bleak fantasy, and we can dismiss it with the restrained observation that I certainly would not consider living it again. In those days my mother was given to the exasperating and mysterious habit of having babies. As they were born, I took them over with one hand and held a book with the other. The children probably suffered, though they have since been kind enough to deny it, and in this way I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin and A Tale of Two Cities over and over and over again; in this way, in fact, I read just about everything I could get my hands on – except the Bible, probably because it was the only book I was encouraged to read. I must also confess that I wrote – a great deal – and my first professional triumph, in any case, the first effort of mine to be seen in print, occurred at the age of twelve or thereabouts, when a short story I had written about the Spanish revolution won some prize in an extremely short-lived church newspaper. I remember the story was censored by the lady editor, though I don’t remember why, and I was outraged.”

– James Baldwin, 1955.


Frances Willard quote about childhood and her mother

Frances Willard

“Mother was nearly thirty-five when I was born, the fourth of her five children, one of whom, the first, had passed away in infancy, and the third at the age of fourteen months. This little girl, Caroline Elizabeth, mother has always spoken of as the most promising child she ever bore, or, for that matter, ever saw. ‘She was a vision of delight,’ with deep blue eyes and dark brown hair; a disposition without flaw, her nerves being so well encased and her little spirit so perfectly equipoised that she would sit or lie in her cradle cooing to herself by the hour, and when she rode, the beauty of the world outdoors seemed so well apprehend by the seraphic child that her little hands were constantly outstretched and her sweet eyes were full of light and comprehension, while her silver voice took on such an ecstasy as was remarked by all who knew her. My little sister passed to heaven just as she began to speak the language of this world. My mother’s first great grief then broke her heart, and as I came less than one year afterward, the deep questionings and quivering pathos of her spirit had their effect on mine. She lived much with her books, especially the Bible and the poets, in this chastened interval. Many a time she said to me, ‘Frank, above all things else thank heaven you were a welcome child, of I had prayed so often that another little girl might come into our home for us to love.'”

– Frances Willard, who would become an educator, temperance reformer, women’s suffragist and national president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1879, a position she held until her death in 1898.

Frances was guided in life by the belief that “The Lord is real, His whole nature is love.”

Source of quote: Glimpses of fifty years; the autobiography of an American woman by Frances Willard