The Gazette Montreal, in one of the early April issues, had published the following quote by Angela Schwindt as its ‘Quote of the day’:

While we try to teach our children all about life our children teach us what life is all about.
— Angela Schwindt

I had never heard of Angela Schwindt, and had never come across any of her quotes. But the quote itself was so familiar, I was so sure of having read it somewhere before. I did what I often do at times like this. I got out my ‘quote diaries’ and started leafing through. Aha! There it was in the passages I had underlined and copied after reading William Saroyan, word for word.

Thinking I might have been mistaken, I went on the internet to check. I searched William Saroyan quotes and again there it was, the same quote word for word, except Saroyan’s version had a comma in the sentence.

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”
— William Saroyan

I continued my search for Angela Schwindt and here’s what I got.

‘Who is Angela Schwindt besides a person who’s been quoted?

Angela Schwindt: is a home-schooling Mom in Oregon whose quotes have been published in Reader’s Digest Quotable Quotes March 1997.’


William Saroyan, an American writer, was born in 31 August 1908, and died in 18 May 1981. There is no doubt in my mind as to who has quoted who.

The one thing that I do not understand is that we all have at some point the same thoughts about an issue, or even the same idea for a story or a book, but to quote an author word for word and then for Reader’s Digest to publish it without checking the ownership of the quote? Are their editors that incompetent, or is the job of the editor and publisher limited to grammar and punctuation only? I cannot express myself concerning this matter more clearly than through Ray Bradbury;

“There’s no use going to school unless your final destination is the library. If you want to write, if you want to create, you must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.”

Do you have similar stories you want to share?


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9 Responses to Honestly!

  1. It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Tara stein says:

    I’m glad that somebody else has noticed this!

  3. Angela Schwindt says:

    You know, it is not impossible for someone to come up with the same words nearly a century apart. I am Angela Schwindt and I very distinctly remember the process I went through to come up with this quote. I had never heard of William Saroyan until just now. I’m disappointed to know it was not an original quote but I can HONESTLY say I did not read it or steal it, it came to me through experiences and careful thought processes. I actually put a comma in “my” quote, too. I’m surprised Reader’s Digest did not catch that it wasn’t completely original. I have done nothing to promote this quote, but it’s definitely gone viral!

    • chichikir says:

      Thanks Angela for dropping by. Saroyan passed away in 1981 and your quote went viral in 1997. That doesn’t make it centuries apart. Reader’s Digest should have detected the ownership of the quote in my opinion.

    • Dear Angela
      Please do not feel dismayed as there is never one source of inspiration in a world of billions of human beings. My quest for the source of this wonderful and very important thought first brought me to you and now William Saroyan and thus a much richer person for the knowing of you both and for ChichiKir for bringing us all together in a good way.

      Most Sincerely,

      Joseph K. LaBonte

  4. Pingback: Doesn’t That Make Life A Story? | Ramblings

  5. Angela Schwindt says:

    Ah, BORN in 1908. I was at work and read that part quickly. Well, I can’t tell you how disappointed I am to know that it was actually ‘out there’ before I penned it! It is scary how the quote took off on it’s own, though. I’ve been depressed all weekend – too depressed to follow up on it. I keep hoping you are wrong but figure you are right.

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