Bernice had a beautiful home, an elegant wardrobe and an international travel schedule.
Bernice was a clear snapshot of wealth. But her wealth can not be measured by traditional balance sheets, designer clothes labels or frequent flyer miles.
Finite accounts of wealth lack the sufficient funds to measure and define the wealth of Bernice's years and the depth of her generosity.
I learned that lesson on Feb. 18 during an event arranged in memory of Bernice. The gathering of faces, memories & words provided the most accurate measure and testament of Bernice's personal balance sheet.
Here are some of the lessons that I learned from Bernice:
Take Reliable Notes: Bernice was an avid learner and attended a variety of community classes about the Torah, ethics and history. During the memorial gathering, several speakers commented on Bernice's wealth of notebooks filled with detailed lecture notes. Her daughter recalled how at the dinner table, Bernice frequently offered thoughtful comments about the topics she had learned.
Send Thank Yous & Personal Letters: Rucha, an educator and a friend, commented on a wonderful note (and cute reminder) that she once received from Bernice. Clearly, small letters make a big difference.
Keep Learning: Bernice, a grandmother, acquired a wealth of knowledge by religiously attending classes and constantly reading. In honor of her scholarly efforts, Bernice's family gave out gifts of books during the gathering.
Do It Yourself: From learning to leadership, Bernice was a doer. Many special projects and large community events were touched by her expert hands. "She didn't expect people to do things for her," her friend Caroline said.
I once heard Bernice arranging the purchase of a large wedding present -- a joint effort -- for a bride. I was impressed with Bernice's generous use of time and money. What's more, she often discussed my frugal newspaper columns with me and from our chats I learned that no matter how much we have or lack, we have an obligation to use our resources wisely.
Or as our friend Rucha says: Make every moment count!
The Frugal Duchess Booktique
The Frugal Duchess of Beauty Store
Book Shop of Fear
The Poetry & Drama Queen
Frugal Jazz & Blues