David Bruce: Love Anecdotes

A young boy grew up during the Cambodian terror. He was imprisoned in a camp, and several times a day people were brought to the outskirts of the camp to be killed, and the children were forced to watch. One of the rules was that any child who cried would also be killed, and for years the boy was forced to live with this terror, surviving in part by cutting off all feeling. Eventually, the political situation changed, and the boy was adopted by an American family. At this point, the boy knew he had to change — he had to learn to love again. He accomplished this with the help of his foster father. Looking into the eyes of his foster father, he knew that he was loved and he was able to start loving again.

Lots of fans of The Avengers think that Mrs. Emma Peel and Mr. John Steed should have gotten romantically involved. In a way, they did. When Diana Rigg, who played Mrs. Peel, decided to leave the series, the writers brought back her supposedly dead husband, test pilot Peter Peel, by having him found alive in the Amazon jungle. In the episode “The Forget-Me-Knot,” Mrs. Peel and Steed say goodbye (this is the only time Steed ever calls her “Emma”) then she leaves with Peter Peel. However, Peter Peel was played by actor Patrick Macnee, who also played John Steed.

When TV’s Mister Rogers was a young child, he sometimes visited a neighbor, Mama Bell Frampton, who gave him his favorite food: toast sticks. This treat consisted of slices of toast cut into pieces and smeared with butter and jam. One day, Mama Bell asked young Fred if he wanted to learn to make toast sticks. This was a big event for him. They made the toast in the toaster, and she let him smear butter and jam on the toast, then cut it into four “sticks.” Decades later, whenever Mister Rogers heard “Love your neighbor as yourself,” he thought of Mama Bell.

One of the miracles performed by God was the parting of the Red Sea so that the Israelites could escape from the Egyptians. When the Israelites had departed from the Red Sea, it closed again, drowning many Eygptians. The angels rejoiced at the miracle, but were astonished when they saw God weeping. God explained that the Egyptians were also His children, and that He could not rejoice at their destruction.

Famed portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh enjoyed asking his subjects questions as he took their photographs. When he took the photograph of famed humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, he asked him, “Which is the greatest of the Ten Commandments?” Doctor Schweitzer had no problem answering that question. He replied, “Christ gave only one commandment, and that was love.”

Readers of Peanuts know that Charlie Brown is in love with a little red-haired girl who doesn’t know that he exists. When Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, was a young man, he fell in love with a red-haired woman named Donna Mae Johnson. She dated other men as well as Mr. Schulz, and eventually she accepted the marriage proposal of another man, devastating Mr. Schulz.

The maggid (traveling preacher) of Zlotchov was once asked how Abraham had kept all of God’s laws since they had not yet been given to the World. The Maggid replied that Abraham had asked himself before performing an action whether it would increase or decrease his love for God. If it would increase his love, then he knew that the action was the right thing to do.

A man said to Rabbi Abraham of Stretyn that he had heard that the Rabbi gave people strange drugs and that he would like a drug that would make him afraid of the Lord. Rabbi Abraham said that he had never heard of such drugs, but that he did know of a drug that would make him love the Lord. The drug was called love for your fellow man.

Maya Angelou was active in the Civil Rights Movement, and she met the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., whom she told about Bailey, her brother, who was then in prison after being convicted of selling stolen goods. Dr. King advised her, “Never stop loving him, and never deny him.”

A freethinker who violated the laws of the Torah often visited R’ Yechiel Michel, who willingly spoke with him. Once, R’ Yechiel was asked how he could spend time with such a man. R’ Yechiel answered, “Perhaps I should hate him, but I simply am unable to.”

The off-Broadway show Family Secrets, written by Sherry Glaser and her husband, Greg Howells, contains a scene in which a father confronts his lesbian daughter. She asks whether it’s normal to love someone, and he replies, “Not a woman.” She then says, “You love Mom.”

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” — the Buddha.

Quentin Crisp once attended a screening of King Kong with a friend. During a scene in which Fay Wray’s character lay screaming in King Kong’s palm, the friend said to Mr. Crisp, “I can’t think what he sees in her.”

The Baal Shem was compassionate toward those whom other people despised. He once said, “God says, ‘The lowest of the low is dearer to Me than your only son is to you.’”

Lesbian stand-up comedian Judy Carter defines “coming out” as “a gentle process of loving who we are, no matter what the outside world thinks about it.”

“Hatred can never cease by hatred. Hatred can only cease by love. That is an eternal law.” — the Buddha.

“If only I could love the greatest saint as much as God loves the greatest ne’er-do-well.” — Rabbi Shelomo.

“Any kind of love is fine, it’s your hate you have to watch.” — Margaret Cho.

“I love you … I love you … I love you.” — God.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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