• Children’s book author George Ella Lyon says that she was a “wordful child” when she was growing up. According to her family, she started talking before she started walking. When she was four years old, her family took a trip to San Francisco, where they stayed at the Pickwick Hotel. Her father held her up so she could see the streets of San Francisco, but what she remembers about the view is the big hotel sign bearing the word “PICKWICK.” As soon as she could, she began to write. She remembers her first poem. To write the poem she used her imagination to picture a magic bicycle; in fact, she says that she used her imagination so much that “my eyeballs hurt.” Of course, she was a normal child who loved words but also loved other things. For example, at eight years of age she and a friend started a cat rescue service. When a cat or a kitten was missing, they would climb trees and search attics to find it.
• Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne was a family man. One day Billy, his young son, came into the Rockne home very dirty from hours of play. Knute asked his son, “How old are you?” Billy replied, “I’m seven years old.” Knute then said, “I don’t believe it. No boy could get that dirty in only seven years!” Knute once promised young Mary Jeanne, his daughter, “something for your neck” for her birthday present. Of course, she immediately thought of a necklace, but when she came home one day with a dirty neck after playing outside, Knute joked, “Now I know what to give you for your neck — a cake of soap.” And in 1930, Jackie, his four-year-old, kicked a football. Unfortunately, he kicked it in the living room and shattered a chandelier. Knute told the boy, “That’s good, son. You kicked that ball well.”
• Even when Bettye Naomi Goldstein was a very young girl, she was a very good organizer. For example, she organized the Gummy-Gummy Club and the Baddy-Baddy Club at school. Members of the Gummy-Gummy Club chewed gum at the same time, even during class, where gum was not allowed. Members of the Baddy-Baddy Club did naughty things, such as “accidentally” dropping a book on the floor during class. When the principal learned about the Baddy-Baddy Club, he told Bettye, “You have a talent for leadership.” He also suggested that she find a better way to use it. She did. As Betty Friedan, she became one of the co-founders of the National Organization of Women.
• When children’s book author and illustrator Karla Kuskin was four years old, she had a lot of toys and clothes and a very messy room. One day, her annoyed mother told her to clean up her room, so young Karla shoved everything (toys, clothes, desk, chair, table, and lamp; in fact, everything except her bed) into her closet. (It was a large closet.) Then she shut the closet door and called her mother to see her clean room. Karla exclaimed, “See how neat my room is!” Her mother laughed, delighting young Karla.
• While R.C. “Rudy” Gorman was in the 1st grade, he liked to draw with crayons. One day, his teacher looked at his artwork and, shocked, she asked him what he had drawn. He said that he had drawn a lady. This was true, but the lady wasn’t wearing any clothing. His teacher spanked him, and then she sent him home to show the drawing to his mother. Rudy’s mother looked at it, then she spanked him, too. As an adult, Mr. Gorman became an important artist whose artworks, including nudes, are in great demand.
• Children sometimes play games that we may prefer that they not know enough to play. For example, Katherine Seligman raised her son and daughter in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. One day, her four-year-old son sat on the curb and told her, “I’m pretending I’m homeless.” Actually, most of their neighbors have been very good, although the neighborhood does have transients and she has had to teach her children whom it’s OK to talk to and whom they should avoid.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
MANY FREE PDFs: