The Best Advice Anyone Ever Gave You. What is it?

Featured Photo: Salome’ Heather Lambert Mengel with her Father, Bob Lambert, 2017.

The Best Advice Anyone Ever Gave Me…was in 1963.

When my first child, Salome Heather, was born,

Bob and I were married for nearly TWO YEARS when she was born.

I was 19 years old.

Bob and I  got married while I was still in high school.

We will celebrate 57 years of marriage on  April 14th, 2018.

This is where my story began in 1963 with the birth of Salome’ Heather Lambert.


I took my new baby, Salome’ Heather Lambert,  to her first appointment at the doctors. While examining her, he turned to me and said,

“You need to create a life for yourself that has nothing to do with your family. If you don’t do this, your children will think you are very boring, as they grow older. You need to learn to be an interesting person who has interests that go beyond your children and your husband. You need to educate yourself, and have a career and find things to do that is not a part of your family.”
He told me to begin going to college. He urged me to do this and told me I was a smart girl and needed to get an education. This sounded so unbelievable to me at that time. I could not see any way that could ever happen. No one in my family had gone to college – we were a steelworkers family. People like us didn’t know anything about going to college.
But that conversation with the doctor voice and advice was always on my mind – it never went away. Over the years, I had 2 more daughters, and then we added a boy from Vietnam and a girl from Korea. With a house full of children to care for, it would be many years before I could even think of starting to go to college.

Finally, at age 42, I had my chance

I began  take the advice of my doctor from so long ago.

I began with a passion to succeed and grow –

I had time to make up – I felt an urgency to move into a career

I was a late-bloomer. but I was going to do this all the way.

I was hungry for the education I wanted for so many years.

During the next 9 years,

I enrolled at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in 1985 to earn the BFA Degree in Painting.

I entered graduate school at West Virginia University in 1990 to pursue the MFA Degree in Painting.

I worked simultaneously on the MFA degree at WV”U, and at the same time, worked on the MA in English degree at Slippery Rock University of PA.

Yes!  I was a woman on a mission.

My children and parents were there for me to cheer me on my new journey.

In addition to going to school full-time, I worked at a museum during the summer months and at the community college during the regular school year.

I even battled breast cancer during my last  year of my BFA education. I decided that nothing would stop me from being the person my doctor saw in me when I was only 19 years old.

Today, Dr. Harold Leitle  is no longer in this world, but I often stop to think about him and tell him,

“Thank You for sharing your vision of me when I was a young mother in 1963.” This one man changed my life forever with his encouragement and his advice to me.

Because of one special doctor, I went on to have a wonderful career in museum management, and later on, as Professor of Fine arts and Humanities at Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA.

You never know whose life you can help change for the better when you take the time to just share your thoughts for someone you see needs a word of encouragement.
This essay written and published by Lynda McKinney Lambert, March 18, 2018.
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Copyright 2018. Lynda McKinney Lambert. Aoll rights reserved.

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