David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 3 — Fathers

Fathers

• Maureen White of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, came out when she was 19 years old to her father. She told her father, “Dad, I want to tell you something,” then she said, “Dad, I’m gay.” Her father’s response was simply, “I know.” He explained that he knew because of the people she chose as friends and because he had once seen a book about lesbian iconography in her room. Then he added, “You’re still my daughter. And I feel like a big weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I’ve been waiting for you to tell me. And I love you.” Her reaction was, “This is awesome.”

• The father of ballerina Violetta Verde died when she was very young, and she wanted a father. One day, when she asked her mother for a father, her mother told her to look out the window for a man who might become a father for her. Later, she returned to the room where Violetta was looking out the window, and forgetting what she had told her daughter to do, asked what she was doing. Young Violetta replied, “Still looking for a father, Mama.” Her mother replied, “I have looked, too, but you see, my child, it is not so easy to find one.”

• Dick DeVos’ father was one of the founders of Amway. At age 16, Dick worked as a part-time tour guide at Amway; however, he always introduced himself as Dick Marvin (his middle name) so visitors wouldn’t know he was the boss’ son. Frequently, people asked him about Rich DeVos, not knowing he was Dick’s father, and Dick was able to honestly reply that Rich DeVos was always supportive — even to a part-time tour guide such as himself.

• Pete Postlethwaite played an important role in the movie In the Name of the Father, which was about the relationship between a father and a son. His appearance in the movie kept him from being mugged in New York one night when he was walking alone. The would-be mugger recognized him and said, “Weren’t you in In the Name of the Father? I hadn’t spoken to my dad for 30 years — after I saw that film, I got straight on the phone.”

• When Jean Little, now a young people’s author, was 15, her father gave her an important gift. He had some of her best poetry published in a book and even got the noted Guelph artist Evan Macdonald to illustrate it. Ms. Little was justifiably proud of the book (although she disagreed with some of her father’s editorial changes to her poetry), but she was especially happy when he told her, “This is only your first book.”

• Some famous dancers are lucky to have a family who keeps them grounded. After finishing her first season with the New York City Ballet, Jennie Somogyi was tired and happy to sleep in. However, she was 17 years old and her father thought that it was time for her to learn how to change the oil in a car, so he woke her up early. At 8 a.m., wearing jeans, she learned how to change the oil in a car.

• In 1987, while 70-year-old movie star Kirk Douglas was walking down the street, a young girl stopped him and asked for an autograph. He smiled at her, and the girl gushed, “Wow! Michael Douglas’ father.” At first, Kirk had not wanted his son to act, but he quickly realized that his son had talent, and at age 91, Kirk said, “Now he’s one of my favorite actors. He’s so much better than I was.”

• The father of Charles M. Schulz, creator of the comic strip Peanuts, was a barber. Sometimes, young Charles would be sitting in the barber chair getting a haircut when a town VIP would walk in. When that happened, his father would stop cutting Charles’ hair and instead cut the VIP’s hair. Only after the VIP had been taken care of would Charles get the rest of his hair cut.

• Ralph Nader’s father, Nathra, ran a small-town restaurant. He raised his children to act correctly, and he wanted other parents’ children to act correctly. One day, he noticed some teenagers laughing as they put pepper in the sugar bowl. He walked over to them and asked, “Why are you insulting your parents?” Then he took the sugar bowl away from them and walked away.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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