“. . . when a wise man is instructed, he gets knowledge.” – Proverbs 21:11
My great aunt, Aunt Jenny, played many some special roles in our family, most notably of which was that of our go-to family scholar. Actually her name was Janie not Jenny, and as an educator who taught elementary school for over fifty years she was respectfully addressed by her students and the folks around town as “Miss Janie”. That should give you a little hint about the era in which she lived and the fact she never married.
Aunt Jenny was my grandmother’s older sister and only sibling, and always part of the scene in our family. She lived right next door to my grandparents in the same house she and my grandmother were raised in, so she was around all the time. In fact, after my grandfather passed away she moved in with my grandmother and they lived together the rest of their lives. I never remember having a meal in my grandparent’s home – ever – that did not include Aunt Jenny and some of her delicious recipes. She was always there.
She had more knowledge tucked away in her brain than almost anyone I’ve ever known. Her mind was like an encyclopedia. Because of her unceasing sense of curiosity and passion for education she was a lifetime learner even into her nineties. She never stopped reading anything she could get her hands on, and wrote copious notes about what she learned. We found written evidence in her tattered Bible, for instance, that she had read it all the way through at least fifty times. Thus she earned the distinction as our go-to family scholar.
Aunt Jenny knew a lot about a lot of things, but in spite of her knowledge and intellect she never came across as a know-it-all. She would certainly share what she knew when called upon, but I never recall her being imposing or intimidating, maybe because she always knew there was more to learn.
“Miss Janie’s” life purpose as well as her legacy was encouraging others to become lifelong learners like herself. To her it wasn’t about knowing it all, it was about the simple joy of satisfying one’s curiosity, in knowing there is always much more to learn.