Be courageous

“Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous.”

Well, if he could invent the light bulb and the phonograph and x-rays and patent 1,090 other things, maybe he’s right. But I’d like to know when Edison, who was born on this day in 1847, wrote or said this.

Edison has always been part of our family lore, because of the Edison Scholarship Contest he established in the spring of 1929. The winner, “the brightest boy in America” as he put it, would receive a four-year college scholarship. My father was the first alternate for the state of Michigan.

By 1931 the contest was defunct, because it cost too much and Edison’s health was deteriorating. He died in October of that year, so he didn’t live to see how long it took for his dictum to come true.

I’m happy about Edison’s contest though, because this morning I found my father’s name in the New York Times archive. He sits here before me, in old microfiche type: one of the brightest boys.

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