David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 2 — Couples, Daughters, Death


• When she was 15 years old, world-class figure skater Janet Lynn asked a boy to a Sadie Hawkins dance. Unfortunately, there was a drawback. After they had arrived at the dance, Janet had to tell her date that they could stay only 15 minutes because she had to get up early to practice.

• John Custis and Fidelia Custis were not happy after they were married. Once, they attempted a reconciliation and even drew up a contract between each other. In the contract, they agreed, among other things, not to hide the other’s silver.

• Dating a cowgirl can be a little different from dating other women. Jeana Day Felts, the World Champion Barrel Racer in 1974, was just setting out on a date when he reminded her, “Jeana, take off your spurs.”


• Humorist H. Allen Smith once came up with a wonderful idea to keep his teenage daughter from spending so many hours on the telephone. He decided to have her telephone tapped so that by flipping a switch he could have her calls broadcast through the house. That way, he could give her a reasonable amount of time to talk, then flip the switch, and as soon as she heard her voice booming through the loudspeakers, of course she would immediately hang up the telephone. Unfortunately, Mr. Smith was unable to put his idea in action, as this kind of wiretapping—even if it’s your own telephone—was illegal. Later, the manager of the telephone company told Mr. Smith that he was glad that wiretapping was illegal. Other fathers had heard of Mr. Smith’s idea and the telephone company was being swamped with requests to put Mr. Smith’s idea in action.

• Sometimes, fathers and stepfathers become feminists because their daughters or stepdaughters want to do something other people don’t want them to do. As a teenager, Sandy Smith wanted to ride bulls in the rodeo. Many cowboys would say things such as, “Girls can’t ride bucking stock.” However, her stepfather told her, “Sandy, at your age a girl’s coordination is as good as a guy’s. Don’t take any lip from them—they’re just afraid you’re going to show them up.” Young Sandy did as she wished and rode bucking bulls in rodeos.

• Alice Roosevelt Longworth, the daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, started to smoke while her father was President. He would not allow her to smoke in the White House, so she used to climb up to the roof and smoke there. About his daughter, President Roosevelt said, “I can do one of two things. I can be President of the United States, or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both.”

• Rod Chisholm coached football, so of course his young daughters, ages 10 and four, wanted to be cheerleaders. They practiced their cheers in the basement, then came upstairs to perform before their parents. That evening, the youngest daughter said her bedtime prayer in a special way: “God bless Ma, God bless Pa, God bless everybody, rah rah rah!”

• Judge Roy Bean had two daughters, and sometimes when he wanted them, they were gone. Therefore, he used to take a shotgun and go looking for his daughters, telling the people he met, “I ought to kill ’em.” However, although the judge was frequently loaded, the shotgun never was.

• Lady Mills (Mary Hayley Bell) once gave a party at the conclusion of which her five-year-old daughter made a surprise entrance, As the guests were leaving, her perfectly healthy daughter stood at the top of a stairway and announced in a calm voice, “Mummy, my heart has stopped.”


• A “cold call” is a telephone call that a broker makes to drum up business with someone he doesn’t know. During the Roaring Twenties, a broker called a prospective customer only to be told that the person he was calling had died—so the broker asked to speak to the next of kin!

• Harry Lehr, America’s Court Jester, got married, but he later grew to hate his wife. When he died, his will stated that he had left her “my houses, lands, silver plate, tapestries, pictures, carriages, yachts and motor cars.” However, Mr. Lehr didn’t own any of that stuff.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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