David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 2 — Sons, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Weddings

Sons

• When Olympic gold medalist Peggy Fleming skated for Andy, her son, for the first time since he was a baby, she did her regular show, then appeared in an encore, skating to Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” before a very enthusiastic audience. After the show, her son was also very enthusiastic: “Mom, you ruled!” She says, “I don’t care if they give me a ticker tape parade down Broadway—I could never dream of feeling more gratified.”

• L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was not a strict disciplinarian. He once spanked Kenneth, his son, but this made him feel so guilty that later that night he woke up his son to apologize to him.

• After Harpo and Susan Marx adopted a baby, Oscar Levant sent them this telegram: “CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR SON. IF HE NEEDS BROTHER, WIRE TERMS.”

• Being an explorer has its disadvantages. When Sir Edmund Hillary returned from an expedition to Antarctica, his four-year-old son, Peter, did not recognize him.

Thanksgiving

• Commercial and pop artist Andy Warhol grew up poor, and he didn’t always know how to use his money once he began making it. Once, a friend discovered an uncashed, forgotten $700 paycheck in Mr. Warhol’s apartment. Mr. Warhol used one early paycheck to buy one hundred Brooks Brothers white shirts—all identical. (Later in life, he usually dressed completely in black.) One Thanksgiving, Mr. Warhol and his mother ate Thanksgiving dinner at a Woolworth’s lunch counter.

• At a church service before Thanksgiving, members of the congregation brought nonperishable items of food to be donated to the local food pantry. Shirley Thomsen’s three-year-old granddaughter, Denise, asked about the food, which had been placed around the altar, and Ms. Thomsen told her that the food was for poor people. As the members of the choir made their way toward the altar, Denise said, “Look, Grandma! Here come the poor people now!”

Valentine’s Day

• One Valentine’s Day, Gail Sausser found herself holding a ladder for a lesbian friend who, wearing pink tights and cape and holding a rose between her teeth, climbed to the fire escape, then went to a third-floor window, tapped on it, and presented her lover with the rose.

Weddings

• Judge Roy Bean used to perform weddings, saying, “By the authority of the Constitution of the United States, the great state of Texas, and the Law West of the Pecos, I, Roy Bean, Justice of the Peace of this district, hereby pronounce you man and wife.” He then was accustomed to add, “May God have mercy on your souls.” Judge Bean also used to grant divorces. When a District Court informed him that he didn’t have the legal authority to grant divorces, Mr. Bean explained, “Well, I married ’em, so I figure I’ve got the right to rectify my errors.”

• Rabbi Wayne Dosick once discussed the marriage plans of a young couple at whose wedding he would officiate. The young couple wanted to be married outside, but they were afraid that rain would ruin the wedding. Therefore, they asked Rabbi Dosick to talk with God and pray for sunshine. After all, as a rabbi, he must have some influence. Rabbi Dosick joked, “I’d like to help, but I’m only in sales, not management.”

• Comic singer Anna Russell married a Jewish man and had a traditional Jewish wedding, complete with the breaking of a wine glass. Attending the wedding was her Aunt Al Schuyler, who was very old and very deaf. When the time came to break the wine glass, Aunt Al saw the glass and said loudly, “No one offered me a cocktail.”

• Luci Johnson got married while her father, Lyndon Baines Johnson, was President of the United States. In such cases, a desire for privacy often is ignored. After her wedding, which was attended by hundreds of people, Luci complained, “I wanted just my immediate family and friends. My parents invited only the immediate nation.”

• Dorothy Parker married Alan Campbell, divorced him, then married him again. At the reception following the remarriage, she said, “People who haven’t talked to each other in years are on speaking terms again today—including the bride and groom.”

• When actor Patrick Macnee was 66, he married a 66-year-old woman. After performing their wedding, the Reverend Shirley Fletcher gave them a wedding gift—information on birth control for newlyweds.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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