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

David Bruce Anecdotes

Husbands and Wives

• Norma Jeane Mortensen was a child bride. She was only 16 years old when she married Jim Dougherty, who was four years older than she, in 1942. Mrs. Dougherty sometimes played with the children on her block, and she was the only wife whose husband shouted for her to come home when it got dark. Later, Mrs. Dougherty became famous as movie star Marilyn Monroe.

• In 1952, after his tour of duty in Korea was over, Neil Armstrong went back to Purdue University and finished earning his degree. While there, he met Janet Shearon, but he didn’t ask her for a date until several months later. After he married her, she explained, “He is not one to rush into anything.” (Later, Mr. Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon.)

• When Sally Ride married fellow astronaut Steven Hawley, she wore informal clothing. Instead of a white wedding dress, she wore blue jeans and a rugby shirt. (She also kept her own name: Dr. Sally K. Ride.) Dr. Ride made it into space before her husband, but he wasn’t jealous. Instead, just before she blasted off, he called to tell her, “Sally, have a ball!”

• When Allan Pinkerton, who later became a famous private detective, fell in love with Joan Carfrae in his native Scotland, he asked her to go to North America with him. She responded by singing him a love song, the words of which told him that she would indeed go with him. They were married and set sail for North America.

• Sometimes long-married people don’t listen to each other. Peg Bracken’s mother once asked her father, “You remember Jim Byrnes?” Her father replied, “Yes, he went to California.” She said, “No, he died.” He replied, “Well, I knew it was someplace nice.”

• African-American major league baseball player Bob Gibson’s second wife was a white, blonde woman named Wendy. At a gathering of baseball people, Wendy looked around, then told her husband, “We’re the only black couple here.”

• At one time, actress Shelly Winters was engaged to be married to actor Farley Granger, but they decided not to get married because of a matter of life and death. According to Ms. Winters, “We would have killed each other.”

• John Custis hated being married to his wife, Fidelia. When he died, his tombstone stated that although he was 71 years old, he had lived only seven years — the years he had been an adult bachelor.

• Mrs. Albert Einstein was once asked if she understood her husband’s theory of relativity. She replied, “No, but I understand my husband and I know he can be trusted.”

Illnesses

• As an infant, Wilma Rudolph was sickly and she did not begin to toddle until she was four years old, but even then, bad luck struck. She suffered from scarlet fever and double pneumonia, and when she began to recover, her family discovered that the illnesses had damaged the nerves of one of her legs. She began to undergo treatment at a clinic, her family massaged her legs for hours each day, and at age six she could hop a short distance. Eventually, the hard work paid off. She begin to walk, then she began to run, and at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, she won three gold medals in track — the first American woman ever to do so.

• Henri Landwirth was very ambitious. He worked in a New York City hotel, and he studied hotel management. He once bribed a night accountant with a bottle of whiskey. Why? Not to get out of work. Instead, Mr. Landwirth wanted to do the night accountant’s work for him. Mr. Landwirth ended up learning every job in that New York City hotel. He became very wealthy, and he founded Give the Kids the World in 1985. This hotel and recreation complex in Florida gives a fun experience to kids with life-threatening illnesses and to the kids’ families.

Language

• As a young man, long-nosed Jimmy Durante (later a famous comedian) studied with an Italian music teacher who loved a much younger woman who knew English but not Italian. Since Mr. Durante knew both languages, he was put to work translating the teacher’s passionate letters from Italian to English, and translating the young lady’s replies from English to Italian. Somehow, the young lady found out what Mr. Durante was doing, and she fancied that she might be in love with him. Unfortunately, when she saw him, Mr. Durante says, “She took one look and dropped me out of her afflictions.” (Mr. Durante occasionally misused words, often with humorous and wise intent; the expected word would be “affections.”)

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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2 responses to “David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 4 — Husbands and Wives, Illnesses”

  1. For me, Jimmy Durante was much funnier in his later years. I cannot watch his films with Buster Keaton despite my affection for both. I don’t know why, maybe he had mellowed some, or maybe his older self was a better fit for his persona. His version of “Make Someone Happy” is one of the great all-time recordings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Buster Keaton was funniest early, in the silent days. I have some of Durante’s songs, but not that one. I’ll look it on YouTube.

      Like

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