• In her book on children surviving cancer, I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to Go to Boise, Erma Bombeck tells about a child who had lost her hair to chemotherapy and was being stared at by some young children in a hospital. The child pulled off her wig as she said, “Hey, you want to see what happens when you don’t eat your vegetables?”
• Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham after Random House editor Bennett Cerf challenged him to write a children’s book using only 50 words. Although he met the challenge, Dr. Seuss says that writing the book did have a disadvantage — afterward, whenever he was invited to a banquet, he was served green eggs and ham.
• When playwright Neil Simon was a child, he told his mother that he liked chocolate pudding, so she made chocolate pudding for dessert 15 days in a row. Finally, he got tired of always eating chocolate pudding for dessert, so he said that he didn’t want the pudding. His mother said, “But I thought you liked it.”
• Gertrude Stein wrote the autobiography of her friend Alice B. Toklas; however, Ms. Toklas did write the Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. This book describes meals with famous painters and authors — it also includes a recipe for Haschich [Hashish] Fudge.
Gays and Lesbians
• When gay author Michael Thomas Ford first lived in New York, he didn’t know what to expect when he became involved with the gay scene. During Pride Weekend, he and a lesbian friend went to a gay men’s dance on Christopher Street. This turned out to be a mistake, as many of the gay men dancing made it clear that they did not want a woman present. The next year, Mr. Ford was invited to a women’s dance during Pride Weekend. Remembering what had happened the previous year, he was nervous about going, but his lesbian friends talked him into it. As he had expected, he was the only man present, and he was plenty nervous when a butch female walked up to him. However, the woman simply shook his hand and told him, “I just want you to know that I’m glad you’re here.” (So did more than 100 other women, many of whom laughed at the slogan on his T-shirt: “LESBIAN TRAPPED IN A MAN’S BODY.”) During the evening, Mr. Ford noticed that the women’s dance was very inclusive. Whereas the people at the previous year’s men’s dance were judged by their looks and their buffness, the people present at the women’s dance were of all ages, all colors, all shapes, and all sizes. Even women in wheelchairs were present. The only problem that occurred is that Mr. Ford’s lesbian friends got jealous because he was talking to more women than they were.
• The classic “coming out” novel about a lesbian girl is Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown. The classic “coming out” autobiography about a gay boy is The Best Little Boy in the World by John Reid (pseudonym of financial writer Andrew Tobias). Despite having different publishers, both books were published in hardback in 1973, and both books were published in paperback in 1977. But for the real coincidence, read this: As children, both Mr. Tobias and Ms. Brown attended summer camp in Maine. Andy went to Camp Wigwam, and Rita Mae went to its sister camp, Camp Hiawatha. On a couple of occasions, the two went to the movies together, double-dating with a couple of older counselors.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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