• When J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, was very young, she told a made-up story to her younger sister, Dianne. J.K.’s story was about a little girl named “Di” who was rescued by a family of rabbits after she fell down a rabbit hole. The family of rabbits fed little Di strawberries. Young Dianne enjoyed hearing the story, but she was annoyed when J.K. would change one of the details or add something different. Therefore, in order to keep all the details consistent when she told the story to her sister, J.K. wrote down the story.
• After Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique became a best seller, she celebrated by buying a dishwater and new clothes — and by hiring a crew to paint her living room bright purple.
• At the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, Bill Havens of Arlington, Virginia, was favored to win a medal as part of the U.S. Rowing Team. However, he discovered that his wife was pregnant and was scheduled to give birth at the time the Olympic Games would be held. Friends and family urged him to go to the Olympics, but he decided to be with his wife when she gave birth, and so he passed up his chance to win an Olympic medal. In 1952, he received a telegram from the Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland. The telegram said, “Thanks for waiting around for me to get born in 1924. I’m coming home with the gold medal that you should have won.” Frank Havens, Bill’s son, had won the gold medal in a rowing event: the singles 10,000-meter canoeing race.
• When ballerina Maria Tallchief was giving birth to Elise, her daughter, her labor pains were intense and she moaned with pain. Her husband, with a straight face, said to her, “Now, Maria, tell me when it hurts.” During a pause in the contractions, she laughed.
• In 1994, 15-year-old Brandy, aka Brandy Norwood, hit it big with her self-titled debut album, which sold millions of copies. However, she had been singing long before that, making her solo debut at age two in her church in Brookhaven, Mississippi, then singing in her bedroom in front of an audience of dolls. At age 14, she auditioned for Atlantic Records, a major record label. The crowd of VIPs at the audition talked while she was singing, so she told them, “You’re being rude.” They quieted down, she sang, and her singing won her a contract — and her first album made both her and Atlantic Records a lot of money. Brandy had her mother to take care of her while she was a young singer. In 1995, when Brandy was 16, she started touring with the group Boyz to Men, a quartet, and she liked Boyz to Men member Wanya Morris. However, Brandy’s mother let it be known that Mr. Morris had better wait until Brandy was 18 years old to ask her out; otherwise, Boyz to Men would quickly become a trio. No fool, Mr. Morris waited until Brandy was 18 years old, then he asked her out.
• When children’s book author Patricia McKissack was growing up, sometimes one of her grandmothers, whom she called Mama Sarah, told her scary stories in the twilight. Sometimes, of course, young Patricia and other kids would be playing in the twilight — a time they called “The Dark Thirty.” Why did they call it by that name? Because they knew that they had thirty minutes to get home before it grew dark enough for monsters to come out of hiding. As an adult, Ms. McKissack wrote the Newbery Honor Book The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural. Mama Sarah was very proud both of her granddaughter and because her granddaughter had dedicated the book to her. One of her grandfathers told young Patricia stories about a young heroine who had her name: Pat. This young heroine could outwit foxes and catch the wind and do other marvelous things. As an adult, Ms. McKissack wrote the books Flossie and the Fox and Mirandy and Brother Wind. She says that it’s easy to tell where the ideas for those books came from.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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