David Bruce Anecdotes
• According to world-class gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi, the best time to teach gymnastics to students is when they are between seven and eleven because then they are fearless and obedient. After the students reach puberty, they are harder to teach. Mr. Karolyi says that when they reach puberty, they begin to say, “Wait. I am cute. What for am I falling on my face and bending my nose?”
• When she was a girl, ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq assisted at her parents’ cocktail parties by carrying around a big plate of hors d’oeuvres to offer guests. However, every so often — without her parents’ knowledge — she would disappear with the plate beneath a table and gorge herself with peanuts, sandwiches, potato chips, dips, olives, and anchovies.
• Children’s book author Betsy Byars has published over 50 books, but even she has her failures — books that never get published. One night, Guy, her nearly eight-year-old son, had insomnia, and he asked to read one of her failures. Ms. Byars says, “He read for about three minutes … and fell fast asleep. It was a humbling moment.”
• When Balanchine ballerina Allegra Kent was a child, her parents divorced, and she lived with her mother. One of the things her mother taught her was to say bad things about her father. One day, some classmates of young Allegra asked her what her father did for a living. Allegra replied, “I don’t know, but he’s a fool.”
• At age two, Frances Gumm — the future Judy Garland — sang two songs (“Jingle Bells” and “When I Take My Sugar to Tea”) at a theater where her father was performing. She liked the applause so much that she wouldn’t leave the stage, and finally her father had to bodily pick her up and carry her off.
• Patrick Bissell, a ballet dancer with American Ballet Theatre, studied dance as a boy while being raised in a farm community in Ohio. The other boys thought that ballet was for sissies, so young Patrick got into so many fights that his teachers in school thought he was a troublemaker.
• After Mary Lou Retton won gold in the all-around competition at the 1984 Olympics, she went back to her gym to train, and lots of eight-year-old gymnasts she had trained with asked her for her autograph. Ms. Retton was surprised: “What do you mean, autographs? You know me.”
• Choreographer Twyla Tharp was raised to be a success. Her father told her, “I don’t care if you dig ditches, as long as you dig the best ditches.” When she was born, her mother sent out birth announcements, on which she had written, “She’ll grow up to be famous.”
• One of Peg Bracken’s friends has an 11-year-old son who enjoys reading industrial-strength philosophy: Kant, James, Hegel, etc. When the friend travels, she insists that her son keep the titles of the books hidden so that the family can pay half-fare for him.
• As a 12-year-old child, Phyllis Diller was teased about her looks. One day, she looked at herself very carefully in the mirror, then said, “Honey, you’d better settle for inner beauty.” As an adult, Ms. Diller said, “I still wish I’d had a choice.”
• Peg Bracken blew up many balloons for her daughter’s sixth party, but rain fell, necessitating a cancellation until better weather arrived. Her daughter was disappointed, saying, “It seems like a terrible waste of balloons.”
• Pisistratus wanted to remarry, but his sons tried to stop him by asking, “Aren’t you satisfied with us?” He replied, “Very — that’s why I want more like you.”
• Comedian Joey Adams had a five-year-old niece who sometimes slipped into bed without saying her prayers because “there are some nights when I don’t want anything.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
The Funniest People in Families, Volume 6: 250 Anecdotes
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