David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families — Children

Children

• Chase, the young son of Christian writer Dale Hanson Bourke, had a babysitter who had lost a leg when she was a young girl in Peru, leaving her with a wooden leg that caused her to limp. One day, Ms. Bourke saw the babysitter and young Chase walking together, and she noticed that her son was limping before he came running to her. The babysitter, Doris, explained, “He always walks that way with me.” When Ms. Bourke asked why, Doris replied, “So we can be alike.”

• While on his own as a youngster after running away from home, comedian W.C. Fields would sometimes crawl through a punched-out window into a cellar where he would sleep by a furnace. This was very good quarters for him at that time. Unfortunately, one day he discovered that the window had been fixed, probably because he had been stealing the housewife’s preserves. “The thing taught me a lesson,” he said later. “You’ve got to know where to stop.”

• When he was a 12-year-old boy living in New Concord, Ohio, astronaut John Glenn wanted to be a Boy Scout, but there was no local troop for him to join. No problem. He and his friends organized their own scouting group and called it the Ohio Rangers. They engaged in such activities as swimming upstream, hiking in snow, and sleeping outdoors in the rain. Mr. Glenn says, “We told one another we were tougher than Scouts — so tough they wouldn’t have us.”

• Lady Astor, the first woman to sit in either of the British Houses of Parliament, was once heckled by a woman who shouted, “My children are as good as yours.” Lady Astor replied, “As which of mine? I’ve got some worse than any of yours — but I might have one who is better.” Another time, a man shouted, “Your husband’s a millionaire, ain’t he?” Lady Astor replied, “I should certainly hope so — that’s why I married him.”

• The two young sons of Francis Hodgson Burnett, author of A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, supported James Garfield during his Presidential election. The boys used to hang from one of their upstairs windows and shout, “Rah for Garfield!” After he was elected, they were invited to the White House, where they rode their bicycles in the halls and knocked down Senators and other VIPs.

• When R’ Dov Ber of Mezritch was an eight-year-old boy, the home of his family burned down. His mother began to cry, and so he asked why she was crying. She replied that it wasn’t because of the house, but because the fire had destroyed a document recording the family tree, which went back to R’ Yochanan HaSandlar. The child replied, “Don’t worry, mother. I will be the start of a new family tree.”

• Groucho Marx’ young daughter, Melinda, came to him one night and asked him to tell her the bedtime story “Little Red Riding Hood.” Because Groucho was busy, he asked her if someone else could tell the story to her. But Melinda insisted that he told the story better than anyone else. When Groucho asked why, she explained, “Because you put more food in Red Riding Hood’s basket.”

• Children loved comedian Joe E. Brown. He tells about a letter written by one of the mothers of those children. Just six years old, the child saw one of Mr. Brown’s movies, then asked his mother, “Mommy, when Joe E. Brown dies, will he go to Heaven?” The child’s mother replied, “Why, of course, darling.” “Golly, Mommy,” the child said. “Won’t God laugh!”

• A friend of author Sharon Salzberg had a four-year-old son whose caregiver, to whom he was very attached, was going to move away to live with her sister and so would not be able to take care of him any more. She explained this carefully to him, and he said, “Mommy, tell me that story again but with a different ending.”

• On the First Sunday in Lent, the pastor visited a Sunday School class taught by Rolf E. Aaseng. The pastor wore his clerical vestments and spoke about why the vestments’ colors change during the year. One little girl was very impressed and later told her mother, “God came to Sunday School today!”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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