Children and Teenagers
• Wimbledon tennis champion Althea Gibson was not afraid of a fight. When she was a girl, she discovered her uncle lying drunk outside his apartment building. Standing around him was a group of boys, one of whom was going through his pockets. Althea yelled, “That’s my uncle!” She then helped him up the steps to the apartment building and safety. Unfortunately, the leader of the gang threw a screwdriver at her, hitting her hand. After Althea had gotten her uncle to his apartment, she went outside and chased the boy who had thrown the screwdriver at her. Eventually, she caught him, and a long, bloody fight ensued. Years afterward, residents in the neighborhood remembered that fight, which Althea called a draw.
• Christian writer Dale Hanson Bourke and Chase, her very young son, once went crabbing, and Ms. Bourke soon discovered that her son didn’t know that people went crabbing in order to eat the crabs, so she decided that they would simply show the crabs to other people, then release them back into the water. However, she must have said something that made Chase suspicious about crabbing, because he started asking her questions. “Mom, why did God make trees?” “To give us shade and wood.” “Why did God make chickens?” “To give us eggs and meat.” “Why did God make crabs?” She replied, “So we could have an adventure,” and her young son retained his innocence.
• Francis Hodgson Burnett, author of A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, used to spend a lot of time writing, and her two young sons complained that they didn’t see her enough. However, her youngest son, Vivian, suggested a way for her to make things even—write a book that could be read by little boys. Ms. Burnett responded by writing Little Lord Fauntleroy and based the title character on Vivian. (Vivian got his name because his mother had hoped to name a daughter Vivien. When she gave birth to a boy, however, she changed the spelling of the name to that of a male character in a then-popular work of fiction.)
• As a child, soccer superstar Julie Foudy continually practiced her skills. She used to kick the soccer ball against her family’s garage door—which eventually needed to be replaced. She also used to practice kicking the ball in the living room, keeping it low to hit a marble step at the base of the fireplace. Her mother kept an expensive glass vase at the top of the step, but Julie assured her mother that she wouldn’t break the vase. One day, she kicked the soccer ball too high and broke the vase. She says, “I got a good earful. My mom was pretty mad.”
• Comedian Carol Burnett has three children, and it seemed that when they were growing up the maximum number of children who could be good at one time was two. On a trip to a restaurant, it was the youngest daughter’s turn to be naughty. When it was time to order, the youngest daughter, Erin, told the waitress, “Just dessert, please.” Carol said, “No dinner, no dessert.” Erin replied, “Fine. I won’t eat.” Later, Erin wanted to get back on her mother’s good side, so she told her father, “Daddy, I love you. And, Daddy, I also love your wife.”
• As a youth at the college-preparatory Groton School in Massachusetts, Franklin Delano Roosevelt weighed only 100 pounds—too light to be an outstanding athlete. However, his drive to succeed led him to become the best at an athletic event known as the high kick. This was an odd event in which the athlete leaped high in the air and kicked a tin pan that hung from the ceiling of the gymnasium. To be the best at the event, Franklin practiced for hours, eventually kicking as high as 7 feet, 3 1/2 inches—two feet taller than himself.
• When ballet dancer Linda Maybarduk was 15 years old, she got a chance to meet her idol, Rudolf Nureyev, after one of his performances. Unfortunately, despite her wish to act like a sophisticated young lady when she met him, the moment was too much for her, and she started crying. Mr. Nureyev was very encouraging to young Linda, but it was her father who ended up having a 15-minute talk with the dance superstar. In adult life, Ms. Maybarduk danced with her idol in professional performances.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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