"All I Need to Know Comes from Famous Quotations" by Diane Holloway

Diane Holloway

Diane Holloway

Diane Holloway was a Dallas psychologist and the first "Drug Czar" for Dallas appointed by the Mayor. Earlier she lived in London and Paris where she married a Greek. Since retirement she has written twelve books, three about the assassination of President Kennedy with which she was closely associated, having worked at Parkland Hospital. She has spoken on television, radio, and elsewhere about Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, psychology and other subjects.

All I Need to Know Comes from Famous Quotations


This is a true story, whether it happened or not.

I've been one to pay attention to words on the radio, in movies, plays, operas, old-time and modern songs, and even television. I'll share with you some words that have meant much to me, as well as explaining a little about the people who said them. I use humor. I'll never forget that when our son died at age seven, the best cure for our tears was laughter.

Life is full of surprises. I was so surprised at being born that I didn't speak for the first one and a half years. I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the oldest of three children. My father was a “rag man” and managed department stores, and mother occasionally worked outside the home, helped at church, but mainly spent all her hours washing, ironing, raising us, and keeping the house going. Yep, those were the days when men were men and women were men.

I learned to read and write thanks to my wonderful tough first grade teacher, Miss Reville. I guess it was a difficult school because Miss Reville couldn't get out of the first grade.


Mark Twain

I loved reading books by “Mark Twain” in my childhood. I loved Tom Sawyer and who can forget Tom Sawyer attending his own funeral when townspeople thought he had died? As he saw people crying, he said with astonishment, “They missed me!” I always wondered if I'd be missed. I guess everybody does.

Clemens grew up in Hannibal, in the slave state of Missouri, which became the setting of his classic books Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I enjoyed my childhood. I didn't know we were poor. That's why Clemens' autobiographical quotation appealed to me: “When I was a boy, everybody was poor, but didn't know it; and everybody was comfortable, and did know it.”

Mom was an extremely accomplished pianist who played for church and accompanied famous singers. She didn't care about opera, however, and when I was a bad she made me sit in a chair for four hours on Saturday and listen to whatever opera was on radio. I came to love opera. Mom tried to teach me piano but every time I sat down to play, the room quickly cleared out. I made a major contribution to the musical wor ld when I stayed out of it.

This lack of talent didn't keep me from trying to play piano later. Just the other night we visited a dear friend who plays piano professionally. I had a little to drink and said, “I think I'll play an old tune on your piano.” My friends circled the piano but somehow I broke through and played anyway. I think my friends love Jan because she gets to the piano before me.


Al Jolson

I remember many wonderful days when the family gathered around the piano trying to sing while mom played popular songs. This made Al Jolson songs so interesting that I went to the two movies about him over ten times each. I knew all his songs and no karaoke room is safe if they have those songs when I'm around. I've invoked Jolson's famous line when giving speeches when I want people to pay attention to what is coming next. “Wait a minute. You ain't heard nothin' yet!” Yes, he said that in The Jazz Singer, 1927. Audiences loved Jolson when he proclaimed that line to introduce a musical number.

Most people associate Jazz Singer with the advent of sound pictures, although Don Juan (1926), a John Barrymore silent film, had a musical score and sound effects. The Jazz Singer was based upon a Broadway play of the same name, and made Jolson the most famous singer in the country then.


Oliver Hardy

Early on, I was very obedient to people and did what they told me. I even obeyed flashing “walk” and “don't walk” signs that they put up at street corners. If I was crossing the street and the sign warned, “Don't walk. Don't walk”…I ran! When it came to my younger brother, I was often bolder. When he and I got into a mess, we blamed each other for it.

Oliver Hardy was always blaming Stan Laurel for whatever happened. Hardy said, “Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!” in the 1933 Sons of the Desert. He often told Stan, “Why don't you do something to help me?”

Hardy developed the trick of looking at the camera when exasperated, as if the audience might sympathize with him as he tried to handle Stan's stupidity. The “blame game” entered my repertoire until my third marriage when I finally decided not to blame anyone but myself for problems.


The Three Stooges

When I was about eight, Dad bought a movie projector and we watched cartoons and Three Stooges shorts. However, I got in trouble by using one of their lines. A student started a sentence with “I think”, and I said, “Every time you think, you weaken the nation.” My teacher quickly lectured me about insulting others and said I could only insult myself. So now I say, “I think…oops, every time I think, I weaken the nation.”

It was Curly who said, “I think… and Moe Howard who interrupted him with the famous response. This little gem came from a 1936 short entitled Half-Shot Shooters. Moe Howard (Harry “Moshe” Moses Horwitz), Moe's brother Shemp Howard (“Shmuel” Samuel Horwitz) and friend Larry Fine (Louis “Levi” Feinberg) were the original cast. Shemp was later replaced by brother Curly Howard (Jerome Lester “Yehudah-Leib” Horwitz). Shemp rejoined them after Curly had a stroke in 1946.

Actor Mel Gibson made a documentary movie filmed in Australia called The Three Stooges that was shown in Australia. Gibson did a Stooges routine in the opening scene of Lethal Weapon, his buddy-cop movie with Danny Glover.


The Bible

My parents took me to church every Sunday until I was of an age to choose for myself whether I wanted to go. The most important message I learned was how to treat others in the beautifully short command, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” That sentence taught me to treat people with respect and never insult or hurt them, but it said nothing about how they would treat me. I assumed that if I treated others with respect, they would do the same to me—but it didn't matter. It wasn't a bargain like I'll do this for you if you'll do this for me. It was probably the most worthwhile quotation I ever learned. When I follow that command, I'm usually treated well by others.


Entertainment and Mickey Rooney

I loved entertainment of all kinds, but especially movies. Every Saturday, my brother and I went to the movies. It was always a double-feature, cartoon, previews, and serial. We got in for a dime and took a nickel for a treat of some kind at lunch time. Little did we know that our father was a drunkard and mom wanted to get us out of the house because he wanted to drink all day on his day off. Being interested in music, I loved the Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland movies and my favorite line was, “Let' s put on a show,” which launched many of my own creative entertainment efforts in childhood and adulthood.

One day in 1947, we went to the airport to pick Dad up from a business trip. He got off the plane with Mickey Rooney who was 27 years old, but no taller than I was. When Dad introduced us, Mickey smiled that big wonderful smile. I said, “Oh, I loved you with Judy Garland. I'm a fan of yours.” He said, “Oh, you're the one,” then he kissed me on the cheek. I didn't wash that spot for a week. However, sometimes I didn't have to be kissed to go without washing.


Resignation, Now Voyager and Casablanca

I saw the wonderful 1942 movie, Now Voyager, when I was a kid. I had buck teeth, thick glasses for myopia, and no special talents—except that I was always on time. I identified with Bette Davis who played an ugly duckling with a critical mother. Through the help of a psychiatrist played by Claude Rains, she re-made herself and became a beautiful and confident young woman. (This taught me the value of psychiatric help and I eventually became a psychologist.)

She went on a cruise to Rio where she met a married man, played by Paul Henreid, the Austrian actor. When they were about to part, he lovingly said, “Let's have a cigarette on it,” took out a cigarette case, lit two cigarettes, and gave her one. I immediately wanted to learn to smoke so a man could offer me a cigarette one day. It was intimate like touching lips, almost better than a kiss. Obviously, I knew nothing about germs in those days.

Bette Davis knew Henreid didn't want to leave his wife. She ended the movie by telling him, “Don't ask for the moon…we have the stars.” What a great line: Don't ask for more—enjoy what you have!

After the movie, I went to the drug store and bought some candy cigarettes—white sticks with red coloring on the end to look like lit cigarettes. I smoked and sucked them with hand flourishes like Bette Davis. When I was a little older, I found a pack of cigarettes and tried to smoke them. I coughed, hacked and couldn't seem to get the hang of it. Anyway, my first boyfriend smoked a pipe. I didn't want him to light two pipes and hand me one, so I gave up on cigarettes—and pipes.

Henreid also starred in Casablanca with Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart—my favorite movie of all time. Ingrid had said almost the same thing as Bette Davis when she told former lover (Humphrey Bogart) that even they might have no future together, “We'll always have Paris.” In other words, “Don't ask for the moon.”


Gratitude, Luck and Lou Gehrig

Sometimes when I note the physical problems I have as I get older, I think “why me.” I try to remember others like Lou Gehrig and what he said when diagnosed with the terminal disease we call “Lou Gehrig's disease”. Gary Cooper played Gehrig in Pride of the Yankees. When diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the New York Yankees first baseman gave a retirement speech at age 36. He told fans at Yankee Stadium in 1939,

Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans…

Slugger Babe Ruth hugged him and fans couldn't stop cheering. Popularly called the “Iron Horse” for playing 2,130 consecutive games, his record for the most career grand slams (23) still stands in 2008.


Love and Lord Byron

In high school, I wrote an essay about George Gordon, Lord Byron, the English poet. He stirred my curiosity about England and Greece since he came from England but supported Italians against Austrians and Greeks against Turks. The handsome fellow had many love affairs despite a limp from a deformed foot, and left many broken-hearted women who recklessly pursued him. To me, his most important quotation was, “Love is of man's life a thing apart; 'tis woman's whole existence.” This helped me see differences between men and women. Females want romantic20love more than males, who often just want sex. Later in therapy, I explained to patients, “Men use the word 'sex' and women use the word 'love'.”


Travel and The Sun Also Rises

I read The Sun Also Rises and saw the movie. I had to go to Paris because Ernest Hemingway said, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast.”

Hemingway couldn't get into the Army during WWI because of his eyesight, but he did drive a Red Cross ambulance close to the Italian front and was wounded in 1918. He returned to the U.S., married Hadley Richardson and they went to live in Paris from 1921 to 1926, while touring Spain and Italy. I wanted to visit many haunts that Hemingway had described, including his favorite restaurants and bars (La Closerie des Lilas and Deux Magots).

I wasn't conversant enough in French so I began by moving to London. While there, I attended conversational French classes, adding to my one year of college French. I ran a travel agency from London for my Hungarian relative and saw much of England and Scotland.

By the way, British cooking is no feast, movable or otherwise, but it produces no headaches or stomachaches. I had enjoyed Tex-Mex cooking and spicy Southwestern cuisine down in Texas. As Buddy Hackett said when he left his mother's Jewish cooking and went into the Army, “My fire went out!” Although I never got good coffee in England, the tea was outstanding.

When I thought I knew enough French to get around, I went to the City of Love—Paris.


Jerry Seinfeld

I loved Paris like everyone does. I visited the homes and restaurants of many writers and famous people. Then I fell in love. I met Erricos Evangelos Kalderaris, violinist, and son of an Athenian lawyer. He spoke with a very deep gravelly voice (probably from smoking) and wore a scarf at his neck. I thought he was a damned Greek god. By the time I divorced him, I thought he was a god—damn Greek—not that there's anything wrong with them—the Greeks.

I got that comment from a Jerry Seinfeld TV episode. Jerry was describing a friend as a homosexual, and then he added “-not that there's anything wrong with it.” Jerry Seinfeld and co-writer Larry David put many comments into our vocabulary such as double dipping hors-d'oeuvres in dips, and “yada, yada, yada” when you want to omit crucial details.


Tarzan and Language Limitations

I met Erric at an outdoor café in the Latin Quarter of Paris. I was reading the English socialist newspaper The Daily Worker. Yes, I was a bit of a rebel. I had even protested against American atom bombs being placed in England by marching with philosopher and scientist Bertrand Russell in London.

Erric presumed I was English and spoke using his limited English vocabulary, improving slightly on, “You Jane, me Tarzan.” Of course, I borrowed that line from Johnny Weismuller who played Tarzan with Maureen O'Sullivan (mother of Mia Farrow). He told that to Maureen in a parking lot as he lifted some luggage for her.

I looked Erric right in the eyes and he had me exactly where he wanted me to be—paying the bills. He was a student at the Sorbonne and had limited income, receiving money monthly from his parents in Greece. He asked me to come to his class about politics taught by an American, so I could help translate for him. I did and became enamored with the Parisian university system. There was no need to attend class, do homework, or take tests until the orals at the end of the semester. Passing the orals by learning the information in that subject from any source you wished was all that was necessary for this course.

Gradually I fell in love with Erric but I had one rule about marriage. I would only marry people who would marry me. I thought that was much more liberal than Groucho Marx who said, “I would never marry anybody who would marry me.” Oh, he didn't say that! I lie a lot, and that's the truth! What he said was, “I would never belong to a club that would have me as a member.”

The mayor of our arrondisement performed the ceremony and it went very fast because my fiancé was late, but I arrived on time—my only talent. All I remember was that the mayor said in French, “Do you?” I said “Oui.” He said in French good night and good luck—“Bonne nuit et bon chance.” I guess he was influenced by newsman Edward R. Murrow who always ended his radio programs, “Good night and good luck.”

It wasn't long before we owed a lot of money. Since I couldn't get a work permit in Paris, we agreed or, more accurately, the Greek god decreed that I would go back to America to work and send him money to finish his degree at the Sorbonne. We argued a while but then I made Paris a better place to live when I moved back to Texas. 


Socrates, Plato and Psychology

The marriage didn't survive and we finally divorced. The one good thing Erric did for me was to introduce me to Socrates through Plato's Republic and other works. I heeded Socrates' words, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I became a psychologist so that I could “examine” not only my life but everybody else's.

Plato also wrote, “Life contains but two tragedies. One is not to get your heart's desire; the other is to get it.” I used that in counseling. It was similar to the joke a friend told me. “The happiest day of my life was when I got a sailboat, a mistress, and a convertible BMW. The next happiest day of my life was when I was rid of all three.”

I healed from the divorce and got on with my life. I then married Bill, an American computer expert. Bill and I had a 50-50 arrangement. I did 95% of the work and I got 50% of the money. I guess we had a good marriage because I never read anything bad about it in the papers.


My Smart Children and Garrison Keillor

When I gave birth to my children, Bill and I were prepared to think very well of them. Minnesotan Garrison Keillor described the Norwegian people of Lake Wobegon. He said it was where, “All the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

Yes, we tend to search for information to support our wishes and beliefs. I'm not alone when I think my children are smarter than others. First with his performances on Minnesota Public Radio's Prairie Home Companion and in his books, Keillor describes small-town Midwest America with its silliness, its strength, and its nostalgia.

One of our children (to whom we gave the pretentious name of Phillip Anthony after the Greek and Roman leaders) turned out to have heart defects and Down's syndrome, and died at age seven. That was when humor was invaluable to lift our spirits and help us move on with our two normal children. We went to every funny movie, saw every TV comedy and met with friends who could help us forget the deep loss for a few moments or hours until we had to return to our grief.

In those years, Sinclair Lewis' novel Arrowsmith influenced me. A young medical student decides not to seek affluence and prestige as a physician for wealthy people. He chose to be a laboratory scientist and “truth seeker.” That was similar to Socrates, and became a goal for me in research, studies, and eventual practice as a psychologist.


Lying and William Shakespeare

I had not always been a “truth seeker.” When I think about telling a lie versus being truthful, I remember Shakespeare's words in Act I, Scene 3 of The Tragedy of Hamlet: Prince of Denmark. Polonius (advisor to the King of Denmark) bids his son farewell as he leaves Denmark for France and gives him advice for success.

This above all, to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

William Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, a small village in middle England. He married pregnant Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior, who bore him a daughter and twins (a boy and girl). He began as an actor, writer and co-owner of a theater company in London and continued to act in kingly roles in his own plays for many years. He produced most of his known works between 1590 and 1613 and then retired to Stratford where he died three years later. His home, Anne Hathaway's home, and the theater where his plays were produced can be visited in Stratford, lying on the Avon River.

I visited and biked to Shakespearean sites, and recruited actors performing Shakespearean plays in Stratford such as the late Michael Redgrave who played Hamlet in 1958. He spoke to our tour groups. In that year, Redgrave was writing his book, Mask or Face, and also starred in the movie, The Quiet American.


Sigmund Freud and Psychoanalysis

Sigmund Freud taught my Hungarian relative psychology in Vienna. I read Freud's works and discovered how to help people learn about their problems, change their directions, and fulfill themselves. By helping people analyze themselves, they see what they want to change and gradually change it. Sometimes they tend to analyze too much and as Freud said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

Freud's most important lesson was, “Civilization is built by renouncing instinct.” Instincts drive us to seek pleasure and instant gratification, and avoid pain that we should sometimes endure. Unlike animals, man is capable of delaying pleasure and enduring pain for unselfish purposes. If only Americans could delay gratification and endure discomfort, they would weigh less, spend less, use less violence, accomplish more, and feel better.

A year after our defective son died, I left Bill who was disconsolate and lost his job. I pursued my degrees in psychology while working at hospitals and the medical school in Dallas to support myself and our two children.

I loved psychology—no heavy lifting and you could set your own hours (which was every hour that other people wanted to see you). There was an old superstition in the medical world that says if you don't work you aren't going to eat. So I sometimes had three jobs at a time—teaching, counseling, and public speaking. When I had a patient who didn't get better, I put the blame directly where it belonged—on the patient!

The minute the day was over, I was out of my uniform (blouse, suit, heels) and out of ideas about anybody's problems other than my own.


Love and Streetcar Named Desire

I'm like many who have looked for love in all the wrong places at times in my life. After I left Bill, I sometimes frequented lounges in fine Dallas restaurants where I could meet men. I'm reminded of the poignant character of Blanche DuBois (Vivian Leigh in the 1951 movie A Streetcar Named Desire) who said, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

Tennessee Williams created characters who hoped that sex would save them from loneliness and insignificance. His characters normally wreck their world and themselves in their search for love. In the final scene, Blanche is being escorted to a mental hospital from the house where her sister's husband has taunted, tormented, and finally raped her. She says to the kindly psychiatrist on her arm, “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” That demonstrated her long search for love through sexual intimacy. This new stranger suggested the possibility that she might still escape from her loneliness.

Tennessee Williams and Blanche suffered from loneliness, often mistaking “desire” for love. At the end of his life, Williams wrote: “Perhaps the major theme of my writings, the affliction of loneliness that follows me like my shadow, a very ponderous shadow too heavy to drag after me all of my days and nights…."

I was lucky in the lounges and met only two marvelous men, a vice-president of Texas Instruments and inventor, and the director of the Dallas F.B.I. office, both men of sterling character. I had long-lasting relationships with each but could have met men with licentious desires.


Past Mistakes and Omar Khayyam

I was never as pure as the driven snow. When I've done something I regret and try to think how to go on, I remember Omar Khayyam's wonderful lines:

The moving finger writes, and having writ,
Moves on: Nor all thy piety nor wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line
Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.

Khayyam was a Persian mathematician (who proposed that the unknown in an equation be called X) and poet. Edward FitzGerald translated a collection of his poems in Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. FitzGerald had studied Persian literature at Oxford and his professor sent him some of Khayyam's quatrains. FitzGerald was one of many who translated Khayyam. The poet lies in an architecturally stunning tomb in Nishapur, his home in northern Iran.

Unfortunately, I wasn't very good in math so I changed my major from medicine (psychiatry) to psychology. I tried to joke about it. For example, a college friend told me he had a degree in German and a degree in math. I said, “Okay, tell me something in math.” He said, “Hmmm. Well, Pi R square.” I knew better, of course, and said, “Heck, everybody knows pies are round.”


The Odds of Troubles and Calvin Coolidge

Sometimes it seemed that I had many troubles to face. It often helped me to recall President Calvin Coolidge's odds for troubles, nine out of ten. He said:

If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you and you will have to battle with only one of them." In a similar vein, he also said, “Never go out to meet trouble. If you just sit still, nine cases out of ten, someone will intercept it before it reaches you.

Coolidge voiced moral suspicions about the country's prosperity. On the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, he warned Americans against “sinking” into “pagan materialism.” Today, politicians believe consumption is patriotic.

People accused him of doing nothing but it was his strategy. Now his odds were 8 out of 10. He said, “Four-fifths of all our troubles in this world would disappear if only we would sit down and keep still.” He said about visitors with odds of 7.5 out of 10, “If you keep dead still, they will run down in three or four minutes. If you even cough or smile they will start up all over again.”

I always enjoyed humorist writer Dorothy Parker's comment when she was told that Coolidge died. “How can you tell?” she asked. Parker occasionally overdid alcohol, which I understood since I learned to be a wine imbiber in Paris. I try to never go past three drinks because she said,

I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I'm under the table,
After four, I'm under my host.


Serving Others and John F. Kennedy

After a long career in psychology, the Mayor appointed me as the “Drug Czar” of Dallas. I searched for ways to advise people about how to serve their community. In my first speech, I used the words of John F. Kennedy during his inaugural address. At that time, I challenged the city of Dallas to help fight the war against drugs. On January 20, 1961, President Kennedy said:

And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country!

I invited people to, “Ask not what your city can do for you; ask what you can do for your city!” It attracted attention and volunteers.

Kennedy was slain in our city by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963, and I have written three books about it during my retirement. Since Ronald Reagan was the president during my appointment as Drug Czar, I was obliged to use Nancy's slogan for children: “Just say no.” We had to devise better strategies for adults, of course, but “that's another story,” as Irma La Douce (played by Shirley MacLaine) said in the 1963 movie of that name.

One evening I met Bob at a Christmas party over the punch bowl. He was a college history professor and I was a psychologist. What did I know about history? I knew George Washington confessed that he told a lie once. Or was that Pinocchio whose nose grew longer? No, he's the one made out of a cherry tree. Something like that.

Bob was exactly the kind of man I'd never been attracted to—a nice man—but I married him anyway. We took our honeymoon on a trip to ten European countries in three weeks. We used the term, “If it's Tuesday this must be Belgium” taken from the 1969 movie title. There I go again.

I learned something about myself. I supposed every man I've known wanted me to give him a standing ovation after sex, but I saved the standing ovations for Bob who said, “How do you feel?” and “Want to see a movie tonight?”

I eventually learned bridge in our retirement. One day Bob asked a lady friend what kind of bridge player I was. She said, “Oh, Diane is always so well dressed.” Okay. Maybe this was due to the information provided by my bridge guru, Mae West, who was quite a bridge maven. During one game, her partner said, “My goodness, you have so many diamonds.” She responded, “Goodness had nothing to do with it!”

I just can't live without famous quotations.