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Welty tells an anecdote about her mother who, while traveling back and forth to her teaching job as a young woman, would recite poems from the McDuffie Reader to herself “to pass the time.” And:

She could still recite them in full when she was lying helpless and nearly blind, in her bed, an old lady. Reciting, her voice took on resonance and firmness, it rang with the old fervor, with ferocity even. She was teaching me one more, almost her last, lesson: emotions do not grow old. I knew that I would feel as she did, and I do.

What a profound lesson to learn, what a turning point it is in young lives, and how aptly expressed it is here. Precisely. Emotions do not grow old.