David Bruce: Boredom is Anti-Life — Children

Children

• Kian and Remee are fraternal twins, born in April 2005 a minute apart, although one has black hair and black skin and the other has blonde hair and light skin. At age seven in 2012, they live in Dudley, West Midlands, England. Both twins are biracial, and their parents, Kylee Hodgson and Remi Horder, both have a white mother and a black father. Kylee said, “They are such a perfect example of how it should be. They are not bothered about their skin colour. It’s not the big issue everyone else seems to see it as. It isn’t important to them at all — it’s about what they’re like underneath.” When Kylee saw them for the first time, she “noticed that both of them had beautiful blue eyes. But while Remee’s hair was blonde, Kian’s was black and she had darker skin. To me, they were my kids and they were just normal. I thought they would start to look the same as time went on.” As time went, however, they looked more different; for example, Kian’s eyes grew darker. Kylee said, “People would ask me why I dressed the children the same. I’d just say, ‘Because they’re twins,’ and leave people to work it out. It kind of irritated me at first, but everyone in my area got to know they were twins and accepted it. It was only strangers or outsiders who didn’t know.” The twins said the same first word: “Juice.” However, they are different. According to Kylee, Kian “is a bit bossier, a bit louder. Remee is a bit more laid back. She’ll think a bit longer before she does something.” Kylee added, “They get on so well. They’re really close. They’re best friends — they absolutely love each other. They play together all the time, go swimming together, read their books together, help each other out. If one can’t do their shoes, the other will help. Sometimes they do the same things at the same time. Once, they even sneezed together. That really made me laugh. As they’ve got older, they’ve taught each other everything. They’ve helped each other to grow. And they don’t notice the colour thing, not at all. They’ve grown up with light-skinned people around them, and they’ve grown up with black people. But they’re just themselves. They don’t see what everyone else sees.”

• The winter of 1880-1881 was a hard one in De Smet, South Dakota. The snow blizzards covered up the railroad tracks and the train couldn’t get through to carry food and fuel to the De Smet residents. Among the families living there was that of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of Little House on the Prairie. In her book The Long Winter, she later described her family running out of coal, so she and her father used to twist straw into sticks for fuel. The family also began to run out of food. Fortunately, two young men, Almanzo Wilder and Cap Garland, learned that a certain man had grain stored away. The two young men were able to get grain to distribute to the De Smet families to keep them from starving. Later, young Laura Ingalls married Almanzo Wilder, and much later, when they were elderly, they returned to De Smet for Old Settlers Day and wore badges that said “Hard Winter” to show that they were among the pioneers who had survived the long, hard winter of 1880-1881. By the way, when she was little, Laura and her sisters got measles. Neighboring mothers sent their children to play with the ill little girls so their children would also catch measles and “get it over with.”

• When E.B. White was working on his first book for children, Stuart Little, he set a deadline for releasing the book in the fall of 1939, but he made sure the publisher knew that this was only a tentative deadline, saying, “Everything depends on whether the finished product turns out pleasing to mine eye. I would rather wait a year than publish a bad children’s book, as I have too much respect for children.” By the way, in 1961, nine years after E.B. White had published Charlotte’s Web, a young reader wrote him to ask why he hadn’t written another children’s book since then. Mr. White was feeling testy that day, and he complained that he would have more time to write children’s books if only children would stop writing him letters. However, this doesn’t mean that Mr. White disliked children. Sometimes, they sent him awards and certificates, and Mr. White treasured these.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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