• Architect Frank Gehry was Jewish, and when he was serving in the US Army from 1954 to 1956, he occasionally ran into anti-Semitism. One Army sergeant called him by the slur “Kikey.” Mr. Gehry complained to his company’s commanding officer, who brushed off his complaint. Later, he complained to some officers he knew at the service club, and one officer told him, “Don’t worry about it. Give me his name.” Mr. Gehry did, and within three days the anti-Semitic sergeant learned that he had been transferred — to Alaska. When the sergeant told Mr. Gehry the news, Mr. Gehry replied, “I’m sure you’ll find lots of kikes up there.”
• As a girl, Moravian soprano Maria Jeritza was sent to a convent because her mother wanted her to take the veil, but Maria decided against it when she learned that her long hair would be cut short. Therefore, to get out of the convent, she made use of the rule that any novice would be dismissed whom the Mother Superior had reprimanded three times. To get her three reprimands, Maria performed these actions: during a time of prayer, she sewed the habits of two novices together; she stole fruit from the garden next door after climbing over the wall; and she crashed a domino board over the head of an opposing player.
• Dick King-Smith, the author of Babe: The Gallant Pig, had a chance to be a TV personality on a children’s show called Rub-a-Dub-Tub, on each episode of which he presented a segment about animals. However, he was stiff the first time he tried to speak to the metal box that was the TV camera. Fortunately, Anne Wood, the producer of the show, asked him, “Who’s your youngest grandchild?” The answer was Charlie, and Anne told Dick, “Just imagine that Charlie is inside that metal box. Talk to him as if he were.” This worked, and Mr. King-Smith started sounding much more like his natural self.
• A mother once asked Manuel Garcia, a noted voice teacher, to take her daughter as a pupil. However, Mr. Garcia knew that the daughter was not suited to be one of his pupils, so he asked the mother and daughter to attend one of his lessons. At the lesson, he made a voice student practice difficult passages over and over, and the mother and daughter soon looked at each other, horrified, then left. As they left, the daughter told the voice student, “That would kill me.” Mr. Garcia complimented the voice student who had been practicing the difficult passages, then continued with his normal lesson.
• Sir Hamilton Harty was conducting Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto when pianist Artur Schnabel’s memory failed him. Sir Hamilton recognized the error immediately, and he held up both hands. One hand made the sign for “2,” and the other hand made a slashing motion across his throat. The well-educated Hallé orchestra cut two bars of the music, and the audience did not detect Mr. Schnabel’s lapse of memory. Afterward, Mr. Schnabel told Sir Hamilton, “The Hallé is nearly as good as the Berlin Philharmonic.” Sir Hamilton replied, “They’re better — two bars better.”
• Cromwell Barnard was both a Quaker and the captain of a ship. Once, his ship was at a certain wharf, and the officer of a rival ship decided that his ship would take the place of the good Quaker’s ship. Captain Barnard protested, but the rival officer would not listen to him. Therefore, Captain Barnard called to his first mate, who was a non-Quaker, and told him, “Mate, I think thee’ll have to come up here and use some of thy language.” The first mate hurled a volley of oaths at the rival officer, and the rival officer decided to let Captain Barnard’s ship alone.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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