Meet Carol Cudd
Meet the Muse: Carol Cudd ~ world traveler, philanthropist, education advocate, and my mother.
Two words to describe myself?
One will probably do. LUCKY. I have been lucky since the very beginning, having been born to a wonderful young couple who loved each other and adored their two little girls. Their well-grounded values, stable family life and encouraging attitudes and words were a blessing. The world was, and should have been, my oyster. I should have done more with my advantages. I was also lucky to have had the advantages of a fine, liberal education, and the window on the world provided by studying and living in New Orleans during my college years. This environment set the course of my life, as did meeting my life’s partner there. Lucky again!
Being with my wonderful family. Again, I could go on and on about my good luck with four adorable, amazing little girls, and ten exceptionable grandchildren.
Trait most grateful for?
Ability to stay pretty cool under fire.
Trait cherished in others?
Kindness, and the inclination to think of others as yourself.
Most treasured possession?
Talent I would like?
Being able to sing!
Achievement I am most proud of?
The characters and accomplishments of my four daughters and their children. I flatter myself that I had some influence there! Other than that, perhaps having been tapped for Phi Beta Kappa, and earning my pilot’s license, because they were both unlikely! Not that I subsequently did anything with them. I also played a major part in Newcomb College (now the Newcomb College Institute) regaining the endowments that had been stripped away.
What I would like to be remembered for?
Kindness. I’ll have to work on that.
Never thought about it, but I suppose, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
So many. I grew up being inspired by my family. My father was everybody’s hero, as was my cousin Sellers. My Aunt Helen’s stories, my Aunt Eunice’s humor, ditto Uncle Richard. I could go on and on. In later life I was inspired by some of the older women I knew who remained engaged and involved with life even as they aged. And my children, and grandchildren. They inspire me every day, living up to their ambitions and challenges. I won’t embarrass you here!
One change in the world?
Like all Miss America candidates I could say “Peace on Earth.” That hunger would be a thing of the past, as would child abuse. That all could live up to their potential.
Change in self?
A little late for that, but to not be so lazy!
I have already named my daughters and granddaughters, all of whom have had challenges and have courageously faced them and marched forward. You all have my deepest admiration.
The antiquities of the ancient world such as the pyramids and the Parthenon in Egypt and Greece, and the sublime art of the Renaissance in Italy such as the David, are certainly inspirational, or perhaps awe inspiring would be a better term because I know I could never produce anything like that. If I were a dancer, a musician, an artist, etc. then I think visiting certain temples of excellence that I have been privileged to see could be termed inspirational, whether the theaters and museums in New York and London, the opera in Milan, the ballet in Moscow, the architecture of Paris or Athens, the Taj Mahal in India, the temples and museums of Egypt, but for me they are awe inspiring. I think that for ordinary people like myself inspiration can come from anywhere, and usually from people who stand up for justice and love in the face of injustice and prejudice. We can’t all be great artists, writers or builders but we can all stand up for fairness and kindness. Inspiration can come from friends you admire. You do not have to travel to be inspired, but I think travel can give you a deeper understanding of the world…not only of the counties visited, but of the country you come from.
When you travel to third world countries and see the struggles that ordinary people have to live a decent life, you certainly appreciate how fortunate we are. There are challenges in the western world but life played on a fairly stable field, and with fairly stable laws is infinitely preferable. There is a chance that problems can be solved under those circumstances. Much credit to those who dedicate their lives to bringing those virtues to others, whether at home or abroad.
Probably reading. The more my mind wandered, the more I wanted to go with it! Always being interested in far away places with strange sounding names, and studying history, also played a part, but your dad and I had to delay our explorations until we were in our thirties when we had enough money in our checking account, after which we made up for the delay. Some of the most open minded, well educated people have never traveled, and the opposite is also true, but travel adds a depth of understanding. Otherwise you must depend on the perceptions and filtered visions of others.
That is why I think travel is important. Of course it is also a pleasure…the excitement of seeing the wonders of the world and the great art of east and west is incomparable….and the people!
Where would I like to go next?
Perhaps to some Mayan ruins in Central America.
In the meantime I would like to revisit, parts of Africa, Spain and France…and perhaps Eastern Europe when the time is right.
I am very glad to have been everywhere that we have traveled. It has been a great adventure!
Two words on me as a mother?
I don’t know about two words, but having children was a dream come true. Motherhood was the “sine qua non” of my life. I would like to think my children would think of me as loving. I certainly did and do love them.
Loved most about motherhood?
The loving precious connection with my children.
That my children would be hurt…physically or psychologically.
Lesson from motherhood?
I am still learning.
Devotion to duty. Oops…three words.
Remembered most about my mother?
Mother was smart, honest, single minded, competitive and rather compulsive. She did not brook fools gladly. As mentioned, she was devoted to her family. These are all traits worth having.
One influence on me that had nothing to do with family was volunteering at the Crippled Children’s Clinic in New Orleans when I was a sophomore in college. Many of the little children were black. It changed my thinking. My heart went out to them completely and I would have fought against their being treated with disrespect. Until then I had accepted the rationales spouted by southern society in general about segregation. Contact and empathy for people changes everything. It should have motivated me to protest.
Thank you for the inspiration (and so much more). xo, muse
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