As a youngster growing up in Sayreville, Reneé Gatz did not appreciate the power of the expressions her parents spoke.
Gatz, now an adult with a career in marketing, wound up compiling those expressions — phrases of wisdom, insight, humor and sheer enjoyment that she heard repeatedly and grew to appreciate — and has recently released them in her first book, “Wise Words & Witty Expressions.”
Gatz said her parents used the expressions captured in her book to help teach Gatz and her younger sisters how to keep life in perspective, remind them what was important, and to laugh at foolishness so as not to take life too seriously. Many of the expressions were passed on to her through her mother, who learned them from her mother, Gatz’s grandmother, who immigrated alone at the age of 18 to the United States from Ireland
the steerage section of a ship that landed in Ellis Island.
Her late father was a man of few words who relied more on the power of his actions to express himself. Nonetheless, Gatz credits him with teaching her some important life lessons through the use of expression and some sarcastic repartee as well.
Some of the expressions she learned from her family are: “A good reputation is a very easy thing to lose and a very hard thing to get back.” “American ends in I CAN.” “Looks fade, stupid is forever.”
Gatz said she was motivated to share the expressions based on the positive response she would receive when she would mention one in conversation — the surprise that an expression she had heard her entire life was new to someone, and her desire to communicate those great thoughts with others.
“In particular, in the challenging times we are all facing today,” Gatz said, “it is more important than ever to remind ourselves of what’s really important and to remember that even in our most challenging moments, there are lessons to be learned and laughs to be had.”
By day, Gatz, who graduated from Sayreville War Memorial High School and later, St. Peter’s College, Jersey City, works as a marketing communications manager for Fiserv, an investment services financial technology company in Jersey City. She resides in the Fords section of Woodbridge.
She hopes to hear from readers about their own wise words and witty expressions and plans to include them in her next book. Those interested can share their thoughts through a link on her website, www.reneegatz. com, where readers can also sign up for her monthly newsletter and track upcoming events.
“Wise Words & Witty Expressions” is available in hardcover, paperback and e-book through her website and at www.amazon.com.
— Brian Donahue