David Bruce: Create, Then Take a Break — Children

Children

• In a 1967 interview with Mary Harrington Hall, Charles Schulz said that his children had given him a total of three lines that he had used in Peanuts, his comic strip. At dinner, Amy, his daughter, was talking quite a lot, and Mr. Schulz asked her, “Couldn’t you be quiet for just a little while?” Shortly afterward, she was buttering a piece of bread and asked, “Am I buttering too loud for you?” Craig, his son, often had dirty fingernails. One day, they were clean and his parents asked how he had gotten them so clean. Craig answered, “I used toothpaste.” And when Monty, another son, was in kindergarten, Mr. Schulz read him a bedtime story and tried to get him to go to sleep, and Monty said that he didn’t want to close his eyes. Why? “Because it’s dark in there.”

• Ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev paid little attention to time. When the young Alicia Markova was dancing for him, he invited her and her governess out for a ride in the country to see some Spanish dancing and to enjoy tea, but he arrived for the engagement late. Alicia and her governess waited an hour for him, then left, and he arrived an hour after they had left. The next day, young Alicia told him calmly, “You broke your appointment, Sergypop. I know that you are a busy man, but that is no excuse for not turning up when you invite a friend to go out with you.” Mr. Diaghilev apologized, then he made a new appointment for the following day, and when Alicia and her governess arrived, he was waiting for them.

• When Sir Harold Wilson, former Prime Minister of England, was a child, he was cast as the Midshipmite in Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore. One of the benefits of his role was that each night on stage he got a basket of goodies. One night, the basket was filled with especially large candies, and soon he became aware that all eyes were on him—and for good reason. Because of the large size of the piece of candy he had stuck in his mouth, one of his cheeks stuck out much farther than the other.

• Ruth Weisberg decided to become an artist at age six after taking just three classes at the Chicago Art Institute. She remembers telling her parents and she also remembers that they didn’t laugh; instead, their reaction was, “Oh, wonderful!” Ruth did not go home immediately after her classes—she preferred to visit the art galleries. In fact, while she was in Italy, she used to put herself to sleep not by counting sleep, but instead by imaginatively visiting the art galleries of her youth.

• Ana Samways writes an entertaining almost-daily humor column for the New Zealand Herald. Rhys Haman of Tauranga sent her this anecdote about his niece’s birthday. Her four-year-old daughter, Naeva, gave her a little box in which were some pieces of fluff. Mr. Haman wrote about Naeva, “She said it was some bits of cloud, and she and her brother Kobe had climbed up high in the sky to get it for her! Not many people can say that they got a piece of cloud for their birthday.”

• Here are two anecdotes about children: 1) During church, a young boy threw his quarter at the collection plate, but missed, and the quarter fell to the floor, making a loud racket. Another young boy, who had watched the throwing attempt, said loudly, “Air ball!” 2) An elderly man was known for saying long prayers to close the church service. Once, a three-year-old girl got impatient, so she yelled “AMEN!” The elderly man quickly ended his prayer.

• As a boy, jazz giant Duke Ellington had read about the sinking of the Titanic, so when he sailed to Europe the first time, he stayed up all the first night to look out for icebergs. By the way, the adult Mr. Ellington was married to a jealous, knife-wielding woman named Edna, who once gave him a permanent scar by slashing his face.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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