David Bruce: Children Stories

  • • Alex Patrick, Charlotte Pestell, and Helen Ritchie are Brits, and they are sisters—Alex and Charlotte are also twins. When Alex discovered that she had cervical cancer, she started chemotherapy treatments. Unfortunately, they made her infertile. Alex said that becoming infertile “was more upsetting than the cancer itself. Shaun [her husband] and I wanted to start a family and that had been taken away.” Alex’ sisters helped them get a child. Charlotte donated one of her eggs, which was fertilized with sperm from Alex’s husband and then implanted into Helen, who carried the baby to term. In 2005, Charlie was born. Alex said, “He is an angel. I am forever indebted to my sisters.” Alex added, “When my sisters found out [about my becoming infertile], they said, ‘Is there anything we can do?’ Shaun and I said we wanted children as closely related to us as possible. Charlotte said, ‘No problem, you can have my egg.’ It was almost like a joke.” Charlotte said, “The fact that we are twins means such a lot—this is the closest we could get to it being her child. I don’t need my eggs any more. I’ve had my children.” By the way, on 8 October 2008, Charlie got a brother: Oliver, who came into the world just like Charlie did—with three mothers. Once again, one of Charlotte’s eggs was used, Helen carried the baby to term, and Alex and her husband, Shaun, got a baby boy to raise. Alex said, “I’m so unbelievably happy to have a brother for Charlie. He’s a beautiful little boy, and Shaun and I adore him. The best part was introducing him to Charlie, who was very excited. He knows little Ollie came from the same place he did—his Auntie Helen’s tummy. He knows it was because my tummy doesn’t work properly. When Oliver’s old enough. I’ll explain to him the same as I’ve explained to Charlie—that his creation was the greatest expression of love anybody could ever wish for. I feel like the luckiest woman alive to have such incredible sisters.” Helen said, “I would never even consider being a surrogate for a stranger, but for Alex I’m prepared to do everything I can to help her because I love her.” Charlotte said, “From this point on, we’re just the aunties—very happy to leave the parenting to Alex. We’re closer than ever, but to us Alex will always be Charlie and Oliver’s mum. When I look at Charlie, I see my nephew, not my son, although he looks like me. It will be the same with Oliver.”

    • In November 2008 near Tillamook, Oregon, an 11-year-old girl named Maddie McRae helped save the lives of seven people. Two days of heavy rains washed out a culvert and a stretch of road. Two vehicles, including Maddie’s mother’s Ford Expedition, ended up going into the river. Inside the Ford Expedition were Maddie, two siblings, and her mother. The car was washed downstream for a quarter-mile until it ran into a tree. Maddie said, “I knew what was happening. I thought we were going to die because the water was going over our heads. But me and my mom prayed a lot, and we knew God could get us through it.” Maddie crawled through the SUV’s broken front window, reached a tree branch, and made her way to the riverbank. She then climbed an electric fence and went to a nearby farmhouse to call 911. Fire Captain Charles Spittles in Tillamook County said that by the time paramedics arrived, “The river was pounding on the roof and going over the roof.” Rescuers threw an extension ladder over a limb and dangled ropes to Maddie’s mother, Stephanie, who tied her two younger children to the ropes so that the rescuers could lift them to safety. Rescuers then tipped the ladder down to Stephanie, who then crawled along it to get to safety. Rescuers also saved the four people—Jodi Porter, her 9-year-old and 13-year-old daughters, and her father—who were in the other vehicle, a brand-new Ford 500, which entered the water before the McRae family’s car did. Jodi said, “We were coming home from church and came around the corner like we have thousands of times in the 13 years we’ve lived out here and the road was collapsed in front of us. And we went down into the culvert and it collapsed and we were in the creek floating backwards for about a mile.” Jodi used her cell phone to call a friend: “My first thought was to call my best friend because they were right behind us leaving church, and I didn’t want her to fall in. So as we’re floating backwards, I’m dialing her saying, ‘Don’t come, don’t come, you’re going to fall in, too.’” Jodi added, “We crawled on top of the car, but it kept sinking, so we crawled onto a logjam until the firefighters came and got us.” No one was hurt except for a few cuts and bruises. Maddie said, “I just went and looked at the car. It’s beaten up. I don’t get how I climbed on the tree and got off.”

    • Beatrice Coles, a five-year-old girl in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, England, knew what to do when her mother lost consciousness in August 2005 due to low blood pressure. She dialed 999 (the British 911) and opened a door to let the ambulance crew inside. She also called her great-grandmother. Beatrice’s mother, Bridget, who was pregnant at the time, said, “I had been suffering from low pressure and having little fainting fits. At this particular time, I had blacked out completely.” Paul Ducommun, who works at the ambulance service, said about Beatrice, “She gave me the address straight away and then repeated the telephone number a couple of times to me as well and said her mum had collapsed. She said, ‘I can’t unlock the door because the door is a bit stuck.’ So I said, ‘We’ll get the ambulance crew to push it while you’re pulling it.’ I asked her if she’d got any other telephone numbers of her dad, and she gave me all these different numbers. She was brilliant—really good.”

    • “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” — Nelson Mandela

    Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


    John Ford’s The Broken Heart: A Retelling, by David Bruce


    William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure:A Retelling in Prose, by David Bruce


    Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist:A Retelling, by David Bruce


    David Bruce’s Smashwords Bookstore: Retellings of Classic Literature, Anecdote Collections, Discussion Guides for Teachers of Literature, Collections of Good Deed Accounts, etc. Some eBooks are free.



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