David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families — Mothers, Music, Old Age


• When comedian Bob Smith came out to his mother, she said, “You’re gay … well, it could be worse. Look at the Gardiners across the street with those retarded grandchildren.” Mr. Smith laughed and said, “Thanks, Mom. I love that comparison.” Shortly afterward, she wrote him a loving letter of acceptance.

• As a young boy, Bart Conner was already into gymnastics. Often, he used to come home from school, and talk to his mother while he was standing on his head. Once, while he was standing on his head, she stood on her head and they talked to each other.

• Figure skater Peggy Fleming keeps scrapbooks filled with photographs of her family and children in a cabinet near her garage door. Why? If her house is ever threatened by fire, she wants her photographs handy so she can save them.


• Before her marriage, soprano Frances Alda had many beaus. Once, four of her beaus showed up on the same day to hear her perform at the Metropolitan Opera. Each beau told her where he would be sitting at the Met. During the course of the opera, Ms. Alda sang in turn to each part of the Met where she knew one of her beaus would be sitting. By the time the opera was over, she had convinced each beau that she had been singing especially to him.

• Ballerina Suzanne Farrell and her choreographer husband, Paul Mejia, bought an island in a lake in the Adirondack Mountains and turned it into a dance camp. Often, local tourist boats would cruise past the island, which the tour guides called “Ballerina Island.” A nearby local couple ate their dinners during the early ballet class so they could enjoy the romantic music.

• John von Neumann was a child prodigy, but not in music. His parents made him take music lessons, but they were surprised at his lack of improvement. Then they discovered that as their son practiced music scales on his cello, he was reading a science or history book that he had placed on his music stand.

Old Age

• Paul Douglas used to be a United States senator. When he was old, he suffered a stroke and was confined to a wheelchair. One day, while reaching for something, he fell out of his wheelchair. The only other person at home was his wife, who wasn’t strong enough to pick him up and put him back in the wheelchair. She told her husband, “Paul, we haven’t had a picnic in such a long time,” then she went into the kitchen and made some sandwiches. She brought out the sandwiches, put a few potted plants around to make the scene look more like the country, and opened a bottle of wine. The two had their picnic, and then they read love poetry to each other until someone arrived to help pick up Mr. Douglas.

• An aged parent had a problem, so he asked R’ Shmuel Salant for advice. The problem was this: His sons had moved to America, and now they did not keep the Sabbath or observe the other commandments that God had given His chosen people. However, his sons did send him money, and he worried whether it was proper to accept the money. R’ Shmuel Salant said, “Your sons wish to keep only one commandment, that of honoring their parents, and you wish to deprive them of that as well?”

• All his life, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein got up each day at 4 a.m. in order to study. When he was 85, his wife pleaded with him to get up a little later, so that he could rest more, but he replied that he needed to get up that early to study because he didn’t want to remain an ignoramus.


• United States figure skater Tara Lipinski has wanted to win a medal at the Olympics ever since she was a child. When she was still a toddler, the Olympics were on TV, but she didn’t pay much attention until some medals were awarded — then she was fascinated. She watched the athletes stand on podiums, wearing ribbons around their necks and holding flowers. Tara’s parents used to keep her toys in Tupperware containers, so to create a podium, she turned over one of the Tupperware containers and stood on it, then she asked her mother for a ribbon and some flowers so she could be like the athletes on TV.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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