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'You Learn from Living'

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

David Greenberger spends his time traveling around the country collecting old people's stories. This one comes from Anna Traut, who lives in Portland, Oregon.

(Soundbite of music)

DAVID GREENBERGER:

`My husband's father was a genius. He had 16 patents in his own name, and he was a brain. But he had no feeling, just all brains. My husband, he did as little as possible. He didn't like to work. I don't remember how long we were married, but it seemed like a long time. It was a lot of fun to start with. He just got a little sober when he got older, not much fun, and you gotta keep me laughing if you want to make me happy.

`Anyway, he died. Gosh, I can't remember when he died, but he died early. My daughter was still young. He never appreciated her. After that, it was just me and my daughter, and I loved every minute of it. We were such good buddies that I didn't think she was missing anything, but maybe I was wrong. That's how it goes. Anybody who thinks they can get away without having bad times is not reading the fine print. It's part of the deal; it's a big part of the deal. You see, my mother was only educated through the fourth grade of school, and she was as smart as anybody I ever knew. So you don't need an education; you just gotta have a good mind and be willing to learn. You learn from living, and I have lived.'

NORRIS: That was David Greenberger relating a story he heard from Anna Traut of Portland, Oregon. The music is from a group called 3 Leg Torso.

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.