I enjoyed Valerie Schultz's recent column ("Happiness takes many forms, but we often miss it," Jan. 18). As a retired therapist, and as a former student of a very special nun, I could not agree with her more.

There was a day when this beautiful nun saw me in a hallway at school trying my best to keep away the tears. She approached me and asked me to sit down with her. As she listened to my sad story, I felt comforted. Her final words have stayed with me the rest of my life (and I am now 72 years old): "When you're blue, do something for somebody, quick." As Schultz stated so wisely, "Happiness comes about as a by-product rather than a goal."

I also enjoyed reading Richard Beene's column about enduring the insults that outsiders make about Bakersfield ("Bakersfield Observed," Jan. 17) as I recall why we moved to Bakersfield in 1964. Before my husband and I married, he said he had been offered a teaching position at a high school in Bakersfield. The only thing we, as serious baseball fans, knew about Bakersfield was that Johnny Callison played minor league ball there. We knew only one person who had actually lived in California.

When I called someone for information, the only advice she gave about California was to avoid San Diego, as she and her husband had found it a horrible place to live. A year after we moved to Bakersfield, I learned that she and her husband divorced. I wonder if they blamed San Diego! Again, as Shultz said, "Happiness comes about as a by-product rather than as a goal."

Peggy Mellon