Your little thing.

I saw a great quote this morning. It was this.

“We are all gifted. That is our inheritance.”

We are all gifted. That is our inheritance. Wow. How incredibly true is that? Like the Universe owed us anything to begin with? But there it is. Our gifts, sprung on us like the sun kissing the surface of the earth. It makes us warm and secure, because we know it is ours.
That thing we do. And most likely, we have many, many, many gifts.

The woman that said this very profound thing was Ethel Waters. I recognized the name, but couldn’t take it any further, so I had to look her up. She was a black woman, born October 31, 1896. Waters was American singer and actress. She frequently performed jazz, and other things, like big band, and pop music. She was big on the Broadway stage too, in concerts, on TV, and the silver screen. Waters did it all.

She made numerous recordings, which I could run on, and list. But two of my favorites were “Dinah,” and ”Stormy Weather.”

As I mentioned, she was born in 1896. In Chester, Pennsylvania. And here is the thing. Her birth was the result of the rape of her teenaged African-American mother, Louise Anderson. Her grandmother ended up raising Ethel. In poverty.

But then, in cycle, Ethel was married at age 13. Her first husband was abusive. Another hard blow in her life. Wisely enough, she left the mean marriage. And she went to work. So very young, she found a job at a Philadelphia hotel, as a maid. You know, when I was 13, I was worried about pimples, and if we’d win our double-header against Englewood Hills on Saturday.

On her 17th birthday, she attended a costume party at a nightclub on Juniper Street. Someone persuaded her to sing two songs. Well, those melodies impressed the audience so much that she was offered professional work at the Lincoln Theatre in Baltimore. And from there she went.

As I was reading her story, I also found out that she was married three times, that she was bisexual, and also, that in her later years she toured with the Billy Graham crusade. Her great niece, is Crystal Waters, one of many musical “favorites” in my life.

One of Ethel’s partners was named Ethel Williams, a notable doctor, suffragist, leader, and pacifist from England. She was one of the initial members of the Medical Women’s Federation. Among many other things. People called them “The Two Ethels.” I could write an entire book about Ethel Waters, and her accomplishments. And then I could write another about Ethel Williams and her achievements.

And all of this, came in to view this morning, as a result of her very profound words, which jumped write off the page and caught my eye.

“We are all gifted. That is our inheritance.”

Which is my point. Just brushing the surface of these two stories, and hearing so much that came from their lives. Everywhere we turn, every person we meet, has a gift. A story. A thing. They have something about their lives that is interesting, and unique to this world. They. We.

We all have our endowment. Our strength. Our brilliance. All of us have a little bit of genius to offer this world, no matter who we are. Lucky us. What will we do with that today? How are we going to share it? And. Who is standing right beside us, that we should notice?

The possibilities are endless.


“Hide not your talents, they for use were made,
What’s a sundial in the shade?”
― Benjamin Franklin


“Every artist was first an amateur.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson


“Everybody is talented because everybody who is human has something to express.”
― Brenda Ueland