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David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 4 — Clothing, Crime, Dance, Death


• When Tomie dePaola’s mother, Flossie, was growing up, she and her favorite cousin, Mabel, would go swimming in the ocean. However, Mabel liked to go swimming without any clothes on, so she and Flossie would find a deserted spot on the beach and wade deep into the water. Mabel would take off her bathing suit under water, give it to Flossie to hold onto, swim naked for a while, then return to Flossie. Tomie, who was in the 2ndgrade, liked hearing stories about Mabel. He once asked his mother, “Did you ever think about tricking Cousin Mabel and going back to the beach with her bathing suit?” Tomie’s mother replied, “Are you kidding? She would have killed me!” However, Tomie’s mother may have thought about doing exactly that, because she laughed and laughed when she answered Tomie’s question.

• Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827) was a Swiss educator and reformer, but he was very careless about the way he dressed. One day, poorly dressed as usual like a beggar, he was arrested by a police officer who thought that he was a tramp and possibly dangerous. The police officer took Mr. Pestalozzi before a judge, who recognized him and greeted him warmly. Of course, the police officer was embarrassed, but Mr. Pestalozzi gave him some money and told him, “You have done your duty.”

• Back in the old days, people were very sensitive about things that seem very innocent today. Quaker humorist Tom Mullen remembers his grandmother hanging up the family laundry on a clothesline. She used to hang the underwear inside pillowcases to hide it from inquisitive eyes.


• Fashion maven Janet Charlton opened a clothing store — where she gleefully tormented shoplifters. Whenever she caught a shoplifter, she would handcuff the guilty person to the desk in her office, then ask the guilty person for twice what the shoplifted item was worth. If the guilty person did not have the money, she would allow the guilty person one telephone call to contact someone who would bring over the money. If the guilty person was not able to call someone who would bring over the money, she would call the police, and when the police took the guilty person away, she would yell at the guilty person in the street: “CRIME DOESN’T PAY!”

• Some people are very honest. In Fort Wayne, Indiana, police wanted to see how honest the citizens were, so they put a new TV set in a car with an unlocked door, then hid and kept watch over the car for a couple of weeks. A police officer reported, “People walked past the car, looked at the TV, opened the door, put the lock button down, closed the door, and walked on. Nobody tried to take the TV.”


• When Balanchine ballerina Allegra Kent was in the 7th grade, she shocked her classmates by asking a boy to dance with her at a school party. He said yes, making her very happy, because he moved well, and she liked always to have good dance partners. Years later, in 1985, when she was a famous ballerina, she wrote, “I’ve danced with Mikhail Beryshnikov, Erik Bruhn, Edward Villella, Peter Martins, Jacques d’Amboise, and David McCrea.” The first five names belong to famous dancers; the sixth name belongs to the boy she danced with in the 7th grade.

• Teenage girls can be incredibly smart. For example, comedian Lewis Black attended both his junior and his senior proms in high school. For each prom, he had a different date. For each prom, he started going with the girl shortly before the prom, and she dumped him shortly after the prom. Mr. Black says, “Coincidence? I think not.”


• Because of bans on gay marriages, even gays and lesbians in committed relationships run into problems. For example, Dana and Kelsey were in a committed lesbian relationship for 17 years — a relationship that ended only with Kelsey’s death from cancer. Kelsey’s parents had disowned her for many years, but in her final weeks of life they arrived on the scene and ordered the hospital to ban Dana from seeing Kelsey, despite Kelsey’s wish to see her. Fortunately, because of a kind night shift, Dana was able to sneak into Kelsey’s hospital room at night and visit her. When Kelsey died, her parents went to the home of Dana and Kelsey and took away Kelsey’s possessions — and Dana’s. However, Dana was able to get revenge on Kelsey’s parents for the way they had treated her. When the hospital telephoned Dana about paying tens of thousands of dollars of medical debt not covered by Kelsey’s insurance, Dana replied, “I’m not family. You need to call Kelsey’s parents.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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


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David Bruce at Smashwords (PDFs and Other Formats)


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