David Bruce: The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Children


• When Yoshiko Uchida, author of Journey to Topaz, was a little girl growing up in California, she disliked some of the visitors to her home. After hearing of a Japanese superstition that stated to get rid of unwanted visitors you should put a cloth over the bristles of a broom then lean it upside down against a wall, she decided to try it. It worked — the unwanted visitor left quickly. However, Yoshiko’s mother was horrified by what she had done. For one thing, she had placed the broom where the visitor could see it. The Japanese-ancestry visitor realized that he was not wanted there (by Yoshiko, at least) and left.

• In 1958, the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. This was an important event, for major-league baseball had finally arrived in the western part of the continental United States. Players and their family members were interviewed by the media, and Danny, the nine-year-old son of Dodger pitcher Carl Erskine, even made an appearance on Art Linkletter’s TV show Kids Say the Darnest Things. Mr. Linkletter asked Danny what his father did for a living, and Danny explained, “Oh, he doesn’t work — he plays for the Dodgers.” And when Mr. Linkletter asked what the letters “LA” stood for on the Dodgers baseball caps, Danny answered, “Lost Again.”

• Jerry Spinelli, author of the Newbery Award-winning young people’s novel Maniac Magee, at first wrote novels — which were unpublished — for adults. However, one evening, he packed chicken in his lunch bag, and the next day he went to the refrigerator to get his lunch. When he opened the bag, he found chicken bones. He realized that one of his children must have eaten the chicken, he thought the situation was funny, and he began to write about it from a child’s point of view. Using this scene as his initial inspiration, eventually he created his first published novel: Space Station Second Grade.

• Elizabeth, the 11-year-old daughter of pianist Rudolf Serkin, once attended one of her father’s concerts, where she ignored his playing but instead stared at the bald head of a man under the box where she was sitting. Finally, she could resist temptation no longer, so she spit directly on the bald man’s head. When her father spoke to her later, telling her that she should not to do such things, she replied, “But, Father, it was the chance of a lifetime, and I could not let it pass. I’m sure you would have done it, also.”

• When he was only five years old, Dicky, the youngest son of artist Edna Hibel, had already started a “museum” in the attic of their home. There he displayed his favorite things, such as rocks, shells, photographs, and even small paintings created by his mother and given to him occasionally when he asked her for a painting to display in his museum. Once, his mother made a sale of two small paintings, and Dicky tried to stop her from selling them by grabbing her legs and yelling, “Those are the ones I wanted.”

• When she was a small child, Joan Moore was kept inside on a rainy day, and her mother gave her some watercolor paints and paper to keep her busy. After a while, her mother heard young Joan calling, “Come see! Come see!” When she entered the room, she discovered that Joan had gotten tired of painting paper, so she had painted herself green from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. Later, Joan used her energy and creativity to become a top-ranked American gymnast of the 1970s.

• As a child, American realist painter Andrew Wyeth was called “that sinister demon child” by author Joseph Hergesheimer because young Andrew tormented him by pretending that Mr. Hergesheimer was another person: someone whom Mr. Hergesheimer detested. Young Andrew would call Mr. Hergesheimer by the other person’s name, and when Mr. Hergesheimer tried to correct him, Andrew would ask, “Isn’t that your name?” Mr. Hergesheimer would reply, “Not by fifty years and two cross-eyes.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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Music Recommendation: Mark Viator & Susan Maxey — “Cajun Navy”


Music: “Cajun Navy”


Artist: Mark Viator & Susan Maxey

Artist Location: Austin, Texas

Info: “Songwriters Viator & Maxey bring you an ever-evolving repertoire of songs about endless highways, hurricanes, barrooms, and the power of love. Their tightly woven vocals are underscored by Mark’s slide and acoustic guitar playing, and Susan’s soulful voice is an instrument all its own. They deliver an emotional authenticity built on the rhythms of Louisiana and the poetry of Texas troubadours. “

Price: $1 (USD) for track; $9 (USD) for 12-track album

Genre: Americana.




Mark Viator & Susan Maxey on Bandcamp