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David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 4 — Animals, April Fools Day, Authors


• In the early years of the 20th century, an old man lived in McLeansboro, Illinois. He desperately wanted to get married, and he kept track of all the eligible females in town, and proposed marriage to them one by one, being rejected each time. To one woman, he tried to sweeten the offer of marriage, saying, “I’ll tell you what. If you’ll marry me, I’ll buy you a Shetland pony.” (The bribe didn’t work; the old man remained unmarried.)

• Albert McDennis, a law-abiding citizen in New York City, was walking his dog, and in accordance with city pooper-scooper laws, he cleaned up his dog’s waste and put it in a bag. Unfortunately, a man mugged him. Fortunately, the mugger demanded the bag, which Mr. McDennis quickly handed over. Later, Mr. McDennis said, “He must be New York’s dumbest mugger.”

• Michael Thomas Ford’s Uncle Dick maintained a graveyard for family pets. For each dearly departed pet, he fashioned a tombstone, on which he wrote such epitaphs as these: “MUFFIN 1960-1966: CATS HAVE NINE LIVES; HE GAVE UP AFTER SIX” and “AMY 1970-1984: A FAST DOG, BUT THE CAR WAS FASTER.”

• When comedian Jack Benny was a kid, he was practicing his violin when a passing dog stopped and began howling mournfully. Jack’s father tolerated the noise for a few minutes, then asked his son, “Can’t you play some piece the dog doesn’t know?”

• An epitaph at the Aspen Hill Cemetery for Pets in Rockville, Maryland, says, “Major. Born a dog. Died a gentleman.”

April Fools Day

• In 1868, William Pinkerton, the son of famous detective Allan Pinkerton, arrested four members of the bank-robbing Reno Gang on the day before April Fools Day and put them in jail. That night, the gang members kicked a hole in the wall and escaped, leaving this message over the hole they had made: “APRIL FOOL.”


• Children’s book author David A. Adler started creating early in his life by telling Susan, his youngest sister, stories when she was young. What was her favorite story? It was a story about a girl who did something unusual — she planted flowers in her shoes. In addition to storytelling, he wrote articles he published in his own newspaper; unfortunately, he sold only one copy — to his parents. After Mr. Adler grew up and had been teaching for a while, Donnie, a two-and-a-half-year-old nephew, visited him and asked him question after question, not even waiting to hear the answer to a question before asking another question. After Donnie’s visit, the grown-up Mr. Adler wrote down some of Donnie’s questions, which became the genesis of Mr. Adler’s first book, A Little at a Time. Of course, some books are harder to write than other books, and when Mr. Adler has trouble writing, he looks at a sign that hangs over his writing desk: “DON’T THINK! JUST WRITE!”

• Jean Lee Leeuwen, a writer of children’s books, tends to involve her family in her writing. For example, Bruce, her husband, is a mechanical engineer. When she needed to write about a cat trap in a book she wrote about mice, he designed one. In addition, she observed the antics of her children, David and Elizabeth, and when she had enough stories about them, she put them in some stories starring Oliver and Amanda Pig. David contributed in other ways as well. He advised her about food fights and football, and as a grown-up professional photographer, he photographed her for Growing Ideas, her short autobiography for young children. A benefit of having her as his mother is that David can list on his resume that he is the original of Oliver Pig.

• Family and storytelling are very important to children’s book author and illustrator Patricia Polacco. When she and her brother were children, their Ukrainian grandmother, aka their babushka, told stories in front of the fireplace, an activity she called “firetalking.” These stories were of magic and mystery, and always one of the children would ask, “Bubby, is that a true story?” Always, she would reply, “Of course it’s true — but it may not have happened.” This firetalking still continues in Ms. Polacco’s family today, and often Ms. Polacco is the one first taking a turn at firetalking and then replying to the usual question, “Of course it’s true — but it may not have happened.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


The Funniest People in Families, Volume 4 — Smashwords (Free Download)


davidbrucebooks: FREE PDFs

David Bruce at Smashwords (PDFs and Other Formats)


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