David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 4 — Husbands and Wives

David Bruce Anecdotes

Husbands and Wives

• Antoine Lavoisier, the founder of modern chemistry, was 28 years old when he married 14-year-old Marie Paulze on December 16, 1771. A wealthy relative of her father had wanted Marie to marry a man whom she hated. To escape the pressure from the wealthy relative, her father had asked Mr. Lavoisier to marry his daughter. Although this was an arranged marriage to which Marie had agreed partly to escape marriage with another man whom she considered “a fool … and an ogre,” the marriage was happy. Marie assisted her husband in his scientific work, created the drawings that illustrated many of his experiments, and even learned English in order to translate his scientific writings into that language.

• On May 12, 1956, Dodger Carl Erskine pitched against the New York Giants. His wife, Betty, was doing the ironing at home while listening to the game. Mr. Erskine pitched well in the 1st through 4th innings, and since Betty was superstitious she decided to keep on ironing the same tablecloth because she thought that ironing something else might change her husband’s luck. She kept ironing the same tablecloth through the end of the 9thinning, and her husband kept pitching well. At the end of the game, the tablecloth was not scorched, and the opposing team had not made a run or even a hit. Mr. Erskine points out, “That’s teamwork.”

• Isidor Straus, founder of New York City’s Macy’s Department Store, and his wife were on board the Titanicwhen it sank on April 15, 1912. Mr. Straus realized that the Titanic did not have enough lifeboats to save all of its passengers and crew. Instead of taking up space that could be used to save a different person, he decided to stay on board the Titanic. He urged his wife to get on board a lifeboat, but she told him, “We have been living together for many years. Where you go, I go.”

• Author Peg Bracken knows a woman who was tired of both her husband and housekeeping, so she left her husband, leaving behind a note explaining that she wanted a divorce. The following day, she returned home to get a few clothes, only to discover that her husband was worried sick about her, because he hadn’t found the note. She couldn’t remember where she had left the note, so they searched for it, and as they searched for it, they got friendly and stayed married.

• John Glenn and his wife, Annie, had an unusual way of saying goodbye whenever he was leaving on a dangerous mission. Mr. Glenn would tell his wife, “I’m going down to the corner drug store to buy some gum.” Mrs. Glenn would reply, “Well, don’t take too long.” They said this just before Mr. Glenn left to become a fighter pilot in the Pacific during World War II, and they said it again just before Mr. Glenn became the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth.

• Johnny Carson blamed his first divorce on comedian Red Skelton, who told jokes as he assumed the persona of two seagulls: Heathcliff and Gertrude. Mr. Carson wrote those jokes, and the only way he could write the jokes was to act like a seagull. He stood in front of a mirror, crossed his eyes like Mr. Skelton did, and looked silly. His first wife divorced him, saying, “I took you for better or worse, but not for a couple of seagulls.”

• Jimmy Durante’s second wife was Margie Little. For their first date, he went to her apartment, turned down the lights, and began to play a record, saying, “One of my pals has been telling me a fella should have soft lights and sweet music when he goes callin’.” Ms. Little was touched by Jimmy’s romantic views — until the record player began blasting Jimmy’s version of “sweet music”: Al Jolson belting out “Swanee.”

• Fred “Sonic” Smith taught his wife, punk poet Patti Smith, how to play the guitar at night while their children slept; unfortunately, Patti learned slowly. Fred and Patti did a lot of affectionate joking during the lessons. After playing a song badly, Patti would sometimes tell her husband, “I can’t wait to tell people that my teacher is Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith,” and he would reply, “Don’t do that, Patricia.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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