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Kathleen T. Norris

  • If you have children, you never have anything!

    • Kathleen T. Norris,
    • Mother
    • ()
  • I couldn't see what repaid her, do you see? What made up to her for the unending, unending effort, and sacrifice, the pouring out of love and sympathy and help — year after year after year ...

    • Kathleen T. Norris,
    • Mother
    • ()
  • ... faithful, self-forgetting service, and the love that spends itself over and over, only to be renewed again and again, are the secret of happiness.

    • Kathleen T. Norris,
    • Mother
    • ()
  • ... the heart does not learn things as quickly as the mind ...

    • Kathleen T. Norris,
    • "Bridging the Years," Poor, Dear Margaret Kirby and Other Stories ()
  • [The] very hot day ... was like a last flaming hand-clasp from the departing summer.

    • Kathleen T. Norris,
    • "Making Allowances for Mamma," Poor, Dear Margaret Kirby and Other Stories ()
  • Men are the limit! ... it's a great pity there ain't nothing else to do but marry, and nothing to marry but men!

  • The only difference between men reely seems to be that some wear baggy pants and own up to being sultans, and others don't!

  • In every marriage there are the elements of success, and in every one the makings of a perfectly justifiable divorce.

  • It's a strange sort of civilization to pose under the name of Christ. Christ had no double standard of morals; Christ forgave. Law is all very well, society has its uses, I have no doubt, but there are higher standards than either!

  • What of Heaven is only this earth, clean and right at last, and Hell only the realization of what we might have done, and didn't do — for each other!

  • She was one of those fortunate persons who can make listeners believe that they have achieved something by merely talking about it. Lucy could somehow make an overdue bill seem more creditable to her than many a woman could a bank-account. She was amazingly glib ...

  • Don't be strong-minded, dear. Men don't like women who are self-assertive and independent, Vicky; truly they don't. A man always likes to feel the superior!

  • ... he had discovered the utter superfluousness of words: so many said — so little accomplished by them!

  • ... New York is everything that ambitious youth has ever dreamed of it, it is utterly, ultimately soul-filling. It is romantic, it is exciting, it is never two seconds the same. Lost a thousand times over in the hurry and bustle of the millions, we used to feel sometimes that we were as free as disembodied spirits; nobody cared what became of us, or what we thought, or said, or did.

    • Kathleen T. Norris,
    • Noon
    • ()
  • ... I have discovered that middle age is not a question of years. It is that moment in life when one realizes that one has exchanged, by a series of subtle shifts and substitutes, the vague and vaporous dreams of youth, for the definite and tangible realization. It may be a very beautiful and successful realization; it may be indeed real furs for dream furs, real travel for dream travel — but it is never the dream, it never can be the dream. A fact is but one fact after all, a dream may enclose a thousand glowing and iridescent and indeed irreconcilable facts.

    • Kathleen T. Norris,
    • Noon
    • ()
  • As for voluntarily using the telephone in the morning, I no more think of it than of using my great-grandmother's spinning-wheel. Not that a telephone need be a real interruption to one's work, but then it almost always is.

    • Kathleen T. Norris,
    • Noon
    • ()
  • ... a writer has no business with interruptions, and until she learns to classify them under two simple heads, she can make small headway. The first classification to which 'Disturb me' may be added in capitals, would comprise the falling of any or all children into any or all wells, the biting of any or all children by one or more rattlesnakes, and fire. All the others go into the second group, 'Do not disturb me.'

    • Kathleen T. Norris,
    • Noon
    • ()
  • Forgiveness doesn't happen to be a weakness of mine!

  • Any rules that are made for everybody hurt somebody, sometimes.

  • We Irish are a queer unbalanced lot, but God knows what a cold, hard place the world would be without us!

  • When they're little, they break your back, and when they're big they break your heart ...

  • Hedda always tells us things the first time as if it were the twentieth, and her patience quite worn out with telling us!

  • ... the feast had all the elements of perfection: good company, firelight, and appetite.

  • Life is very simple ... It merely consists in learning how to accept the impossible, how to do without the indispensable, how to endure the insufferable. What could be easier?

  • ... blackmail on a large scale is respectable, like everything else on a large scale.

  • Home ought to be our clearinghouse, the place from which we go forth lessoned and disciplined, and ready for life.

    • Kathleen T. Norris,
    • Home
    • ()
  • Never in the history of the big, round world has anything like us occurred.

    • Kathleen T. Norris,
    • Home
    • ()
  • ... Gail walked back to the library at one o'clock moralizing in her own soul upon the desirability of making the best of things in this curious world, putting up with what could not be changed, enduring what could not be cured.

  • I always say that if the men had to have 'em every other time, there'd only be two babies, his and then hers, and then no more!

  • Molehills are mountains when you are first married ...

  • ... a mother's life is not a child's life — they're two separate considerations, and it's foolish to try to reconcile them.

  • Peace — that was the other name for home.

  • ... it's just failure, that's what divorce is. But let me tell you, my dear, there's going to be more and more of it, until women get to training their sons for marriage as if it were a business.

  • If ambition doesn't hurt you, you haven't got it.

  • Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier ...

  • The difference between having a good book to read and not having a good book to read is just about the difference between darkness and light.

  • ... when one has an insatiable appetite for trouble all sorts will serve ...

  • ... friendship is an art, and very few persons are born with a natural gift for it.

  • Unkindness is death to the home. One unkind, unsocial, critical, eternally dissatisfied member can destroy any family.

  • ... changing husbands is only changing troubles ...

  • To children childhood holds no particular advantage.

  • There is no situation so high or so luxurious that it is not utterly dreary without friends; and there is no place so isolated and quiet and obscure but what we love it if the persons we love are there.

  • ... hate is all a lie, there is no truth in hate ...

  • When one has an honest appetite all food tastes good: shrimps Newburg with hot rolls and alligator pear salad, or black bread and sour cheese.

  • There is no solitude in the world like that of the big city.

  • When you are unhappy or dissatisfied, is there anything in the world more maddening than to be told that you should be contented with your lot?

  • ... waste is a spiritual thing and harms the soul as well as the pocketbook.

  • Over and over again mediocrity is promoted because real worth isn't to be found.

  • ... if we do not always see our own mistakes and omissions we can always see those of our neighbors.

  • ... in middle age we are apt to reach the horrifying conclusion that all sorrow, all pain, all passionate regret and loss and bitter disillusionment are self-made.

  • ... life has a strange way of making us pay for our blunders in the exact coinage we misspent.

  • None of us knows what the next change is going to be, what unexpected opportunity is just around the corner, waiting to change all the tenor of our lives.

  • It doesn't matter when life finds you, if it finds you.

  • Happiness frightened her as solitude and loneliness never had done ...

  • That was old San Francisco, the gay, young, wind-swept, fog- shrouded city scattered about on seven times seven sand hills; a city ringed with dunes and with steep cobbled streets going down to wooden piers, and masts and hulls, and the blue waters of the bay.

  • ... on the eighteenth of April, 1906 ... at twenty minutes past five, with the sun just up, and the birds singing, down came the chimneys, down crashed china obscurely in dark kitchens, out went lights, and the world had gone mad.

    • Kathleen T. Norris,
    • on the earthquake, My San Francisco ()
  • Rebuilt in enthusiasm and courage and love, again her great buildings shadow decorous downtown streets; again flowers bank Lotta's Fountain, and green lace balconies, blooming dimly with gilded fretwork and great paper lanterns, hang above the crowded, narrow, odorous, enchanted streets of Chinatown. Again soft summer fogs wreath the French bakeries, the blanchisseries de fin, the steep cobbled streets where grass spurts between the stones, and the long line of the piers.

  • ... San Francisco ... manages, mysteriously, through all the years, to preserve the romantic, the dramatic attitude of her younger days. She is still as surprising, as fascinating, as original as ever she was in the first days of all, when a hundred ships, deserted by gold-mad sailors, rotted in her harbor, and bells rang in the old Mission of Our Lady of Sorrows out on Dolores Street.

  • Gordon was his own world, and nothing that concerned anyone else was important to him, and nothing that touched him unimportant.

  • How a little money does help your self-respect!

  • ... there's no loneliness like the loneliness of people who are living together, and who don't belong together ...

  • My brother was what he is now; I never had a cent that he didn't borrow. He calls it borrowing.

  • ... when you are young you are surprised if everything isn't a success, and when you get older you're mildly surprised if anything is.

  • The trouble with us is our hair, Pen. The minute men see a woman with our sort of hair they get interested — it doesn't matter who they are or where they are. Their first thought is, 'Gosh, what hair!' and from that moment on you simply don't like them. You know what fools they are.

  • There's no marriage that couldn't be a success, and no marriage that couldn't be a failure. It depends on the women who are in 'em!

  • But people's as quick to forget favors as to ask thim, we all know that.

    • Kathleen T. Norris,
    • "The Mother of Angela Hogan," Baker's Dozen ()
  • There seems to be so much more winter than we need this year.

  • Don't be bitter ... One may have been a fool, but there's no foolishness like being bitter.

  • When they were going to be flagrantly, brutally selfish, how men did love to talk of being fair!

  • The mystery that draws one human being toward another must remain a mystery to the end.

  • I think people have to be rather simple to think each other wonderful, and to hear the same jokes, and express the same opinions for fifty years. I've always noticed that the persons who had golden weddings looked rather dull.

  • There's nothing so upsetting to one's philosophy as meeting an entirely happy person!

  • I think God made women wanting everything.

  • Times had changed; women could do things now that they couldn't do thirty years ago.

  • ... her thoughts went on, happy thoughts, yet with an undercurrent of that soberness that is the inevitable fruit of life.

  • It isn't the things that happen to us, it's the things we think are going to happen to us that drive us almost crazy ...

  • We raked books off the shelves by the dozen and hauled them along on picnics, to haylofts, up oak trees, to bath and to bed. The one terrifying possibility was to find oneself without a book.

  • Life, although it takes us many years and many tears to discover it, life is only another name for death; they cannot exist independently.

  • The clearing-house of the brain, the wings of the spirit, books lift us away from the petty, crowded day's smallness and entanglement.

  • The lover of books is a miner, searching for gold all his life long. He finds his nuggets, his heart leaps in his breast; he cannot believe in his good fortune. Traversing a slow page, to come upon a lode of the pure shining metal is to exult inwardly for greedy hours. It belongs to no one else; it is not interchangeable.

  • ... if, at the end of the saddest, the most disappointing and hurtful day, each one of us may come to a quiet room somewhere, and that room his own, if there is a light burning above white pillows, and a pile of books waiting under the light, then indeed we may still praise Allah, that He has not terminated all the Delights.

  • If there were but one place in the world where we could find them [books], we must all be pilgrims. If one man possessed them all, we must all be suitors.

  • People care so much in war and forget so fast in peace!

  • ... San Francisco always is and always will be the youngest at heart of all the cities in the world ...

  • Jealousy can be like that, as anxious to be near to its object as love can be.

  • The good things end and the bad things end, / But the sum of it all at the last is gain, / While books and the cliffs and the seas remain, / And the strong true hand of a friend.

  • Before you begin a thing remind yourself that difficulties and delays quite impossible to foresee are ahead ... You can only see one thing clearly and that is your goal. Form a mental vision of that and cling to it through thick and thin.

    • Kathleen T. Norris
  • In spite of the cost of living, it's still popular.

    • Kathleen T. Norris

Kathleen T. Norris, U.S. novelist, pacifist

(1880 - 1966)

Full name: Kathleen Thompson Norris. She wrote dozens of very popular novels, and was probably the most highly paid female writer of her generation.