Husbands and Wives
• A woman who owned many slaves asked Rabbi Joshua what God had been doing since He created the universe. Rabbi Joshua answered that God had been busy pairing people into couples: husband and wife. The woman thought that she could do that as well as God, so she paired her slaves into couples, man and woman, and she made them get married. The next day, the slaves were in bad shape because of the fights that they had had, so she decided that she had better let God pair people into couples in the future.
• Soprano Helen Traubel married too early, fell in love with another man, and divorced her husband so she could marry the other man. While visiting her native St. Louis, she met her first husband in the street. He asked her, “What do you remember of our marriage, Helen?” She replied, honestly, “I have a very pleasant memory of being married to a wonderful young man.” He then said, “Yes, but we’re all older now, aren’t we?” They shook hands, and that was the last time they met.
• Rabbi Yosef Chayim Sonnenfeld was once asked if it was OK to have a hot drink before saying the morning prayers. He replied that it was OK. Someone who knew the good rabbi well pointed out that he never had a hot drink before morning prayers. Rabbi Yosef replied, “You are right, but I don’t for a special reason. I am afraid that if I have a hot drink before morning prayers, my wife might wake up early in the morning to warm the water for me.” (At the time, that took considerable effort, including making a fire.)
• Jerry Spinelli, author of Stargirl, a young people’s novel about a free spirit, met his wife, Eileen Mesi, when she left a chocolate Easter bunny on his desk. (They worked at the same place.) Ms. Mesi carried around loose-leaf binders filled with her poetry, which she made him read. Not surprisingly, Ms. Mesi was the real-life model for Stargirl (the lead character in Mr. Spinelli’s novel Stargirl) — and today she is a published author.
• Connie Small, born 1898, was a lighthouse keeper’s wife when lighthouses weren’t automated with electricity. Instead, they were lit with kerosene, and it took 20 minutes to light a lighthouse. One lighthouse she and her husband stayed at was in New England, and sometimes she saw no one but her husband for four months at a time.
• An actress’ body is her instrument. Early in their marriage, Mel Brooks touched Anne Bancroft during an argument. She immediately drew herself up and said haughtily, “Don’t you dare touch my instrument!” Mr. Brooks said, “Oh, so this is your instrument?” “Yes,” she replied. “This is my instrument.” “OK,” said Mr. Brooks. “Play ‘Melancholy Baby.’”
• Early in the 20th century, Annie Reel, born 1893, met William Cogburn who was a police officer in Asheville, North Carolina. Mr. Cogburn asked her to marry him, but she replied, “Well, everyone wants to get married. But I don’t want to get married without a house.” So, she says, Mr. Cogburn built her a house, and “then I had to get married.”
• Flemish painter Peter Bruegel married a woman who lied a lot. Before he married her, they agreed that every time she lied Mr. Bruegel would notch a stick, and they agreed that when the stick was notched from top to bottom, then the marriage would be over. Mr. Bruegel used a very long stick, but the marriage was soon over.
• Movie director Steven Spielberg says that in his second marriage — this time to actress Kate Capshaw — he understands that the rules of marriage say that he can’t be a workaholic. According To Mr. Spielberg, “I perfectly understand the ground rules — 8:30 to 5:30 Monday to Friday is mine. Everything else is Kate’s.”
• Pianist Anton Rubinstein liked to stay in bed much too late. Fortunately, his wife figured out a way to get him out of bed. She would play an incomplete chord on the piano. This so bothered her husband that he would get out of bed, go to the piano, and complete the chord. While he was up, his wife stripped the bed.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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