The Wisdom of Stanley Flink

Stanley Flink, circa 1950s

Who is Stanley Flink? He is a man who has lived a rich, and long life. He knew Grace Kelly, Harry Truman, William Randolph Hearst, Howard Hughes, Cary Grant, Marian Davies, Richard Nixon, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Marilyn Monroe. If you want to find out why Joe Dimaggio picked him up by his lapels and threatened to throw him in the ocean, Google the words “Stanley Flink and Marilyn Monroe.”

Mr. Flink did not just know famous people. He served in World War II, worked as a reporter in 1950s Hollywood, authored several books, went on to bring a version of the theater magazine, Playbill to 1960s London, and ended up as Yale University’s Head of Public Affairs. While at Yale, he taught a course in ethics and the media. Stanley is not done; his publisher has just released his new book, “Due Diligence and the News.” Stanley is 96 years old.

These are, of course, just highlights of a life that is very much in forward motion.

I know Stanley because he is my life partner, Wendy’s father. I am writing about him because last week he wrote some profound words to his granddaughter (Wendy’s daughter) upon her marriage to a very nice young man from Philadelphia.

Stanley’s words deserve to be shared with all of us, those newly married and those who have been married a very long time…or even several times. Here they are:

Dear Newlyweds, Huzza for both of you. It would seem you trained for this event and actually discovered that you had a future together. You begin in troubled times and I hope you will think of your country and its vanishing ideals along with your private aspirations. I wish you all the best in the journey you are on—good health, rewarding work, a sense of humor and the capacity to enjoy your family and friends. My only advice, drawn from nearly a century of trial and error, is this: Make each day productive in mind and soul, and remind yourself that there is probably no greater achievement than kindness in whatever you do. Which is not to say that you should neglect laughter—at yourself, at the foolishness of human arrogance, and because it makes each day better.

Words to live by. Don’t you think?

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