• When future comic artist Phoebe Gloeckner was 16 years old, she sent a fan letter to comic artist Aline Kaminski Crumb to say, “Dear Aline, I love your work.” Aline was kind enough to write back. Later, Aline’s boyfriend and future husband, the famous comic artist R. Crumb, played with a band called the Cheap Suit Serenaders in a club in San Francisco, Phoebe’s home city, and Phoebe’s mother took Phoebe to the concert. During a break, Phoebe’s mother spoke to R. Crumb: “My daughter sent your girlfriend a fan letter. She really likes you guys.” Amazingly, R. Crumb replied, “Is her name Phoebe? That was the only fan letter Aline ever got from a girl.”
• After dancing the first act of Gisellein Mexico, Alicia Markova was surrounded by eager souvenir-seekers who had danced the roles of the peasants in Act 1 and who began to snip off locks of her hair. Her sister, Doris, pleaded with them to leave some hair for the second act, but Ms. Markova was able to stop them only by promising them souvenirs from her dressing room. After the ballet, the souvenir-seekers descended on her dressing room and carried away hairnets and powder puffs and other small items.
• When Latina author Sandra Cisneros speaks to young children, sometimes she will show them her 5th-grade report card, which lacks A’s. She says, “I have C’s and D’s in everything …. The only B I had was in conduct. But I don’t remember being that stupid.” (Later, some teachers encouraged her.) Stupid she is not. In 1995, she won a MacArthur Foundation grant, aka a Genius Grant. She did go to college, something that her father did not oppose — chiefly because he regarded college as a good place for a woman to find a husband. Getting her father’s approval of her writing is one of her greatest accomplishments in life. One Christmas, two years after her father had a stroke, she visited him and gave him one of her stories — translated into Spanish — to read. He laughed in all the right places, and he asked if some of the characters were based on people he knew. She remembers, “When he was finally finished [reading the story], after what seemed like hours, my father looked up and asked, ‘Where can we get more copies of this for the relatives?’”
• When Alicia Markova, nee Alicia Marks, was eight years old, she danced briefly for Anna Pavlova at the great Russian ballerina’s apartment. Young Alicia noticed that Ms. Pavlova was wearing mauve clothing, and mauve instantly became her favorite color. After Alicia had danced for Ms. Pavlova and had received some valuable advice, the great Pavlova rubbed her down with eau de cologne and lectured her about the importance of a dancer’s avoiding colds. As Alicia and her father were going home after meeting Ms. Pavlova, they stopped at a drugstore, where her father bought her a bottle of eau de cologne with a mauve bow.
• When World War II broke out, a call went out to the Navajo Nation for volunteers to join the war effort for an important assignment. Carl Gorman, the father of Navajo artist R.C. Gorman, volunteered, enlisting in the United States Marines. Carl was actually too old to enlist, being one year older than the age limit of 35, but he simply altered his birth certificate and enlisted anyway. He became one of the famed Navajo Code Talkers who created a code that the Japanese were unable to break. Later, he became an artist, exhibiting in several two-man shows with his son.
• Isaac Asimov’s father was proud of him and would not let him read such pulp magazines as Weird Talesand Thrilling Storiesbecause in his opinion they were trash. However, he did let Isaac read Science Wonder Storiesbecause it had “Science” in the title. This soon became some of Isaac’s favorite reading. As a child, Isaac was sometimes unusual. He liked cemeteries because they were peaceful and quiet. However, a caretaker once asked him to stop whistling when he was in the cemetery because he was upsetting mourners.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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