• When she was in the fourth grade, writer Mary E. Lyons was taken on a field trip to a cotton field. She and the other children picked cotton for half an hour, then they were paid a dime. After paying the children, the owner of the cotton field invited the children to visit his country store. Because picking cotton was hard, hot, thirsty work, young Mary spent her dime on a bottle of Coca-Cola. When she grew up and remembered this experience, she realized that the owner of the cotton field and country store had probably paid a nickel for the bottle of Coca-Cola. He had gotten half an hour’s work from young Mary and also made cash money.
• Karen D. Beatty, RN, has this as her motto: “We’ll get there!” For example, she is an African-American, and occasionally while working as a visiting nurse, she will sense that she is not welcome in some homes because of the color of her skin. Of course, if the patient requests a different nurse, she respects their wishes, but she will also tell herself, “We’ll get there!” Even as a little girl, Ms. Beatty wanted to be a nurse because of one of her aunts who was a nurse. In first grade, she was given the assignment to make a paper doll. She made a paper nurse doll that had a brown face.
• Halle Berry was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and she got her first name because her pregnant mother was shopping in Halle Brothers, a department store, and she decided that she liked the store’s name. Before becoming a model and actress, Halle studied broadcast journalism at Cuyahoga Community College. She decided that this profession was not for her after she started crying while interviewing a family who had just lost their house in a fire.
• Duffy and Sweeney (Jimmy Duffy and Fred Sweeney) were an early vaudeville comedy team. Once, they were fired, so Mr. Duffy and a small boy appeared at the office of the guy who had fired them. Mr. Duffy pointed to the boy and said, “Are you going to let him starve?” The comedy team was rehired, and the guy who had hired, fired, and rehired them never learned that the boy was not Mr. Duffy’s son.
• Anna Rosenberg, who gave President Franklin Delano Roosevelt the idea for the G.I. Bill of Rights, learned the importance of activism early in life. When she was 14, she was a student at Wadleigh High School in New York City, and she and other students were annoyed because they had to attend school in shifts and share desks because of a lack of desks and other proper facilities. Therefore, she and the other students paid a visit to the city aldermen (politicians), who ignored them because they were a bunch of students. The aldermen even started to leave the room the students were in. However, young Anna yelled after the aldermen, “Very well, gentlemen, you may have heard enough, but now you will hear from our parents, who are your constituents.” The aldermen paid attention to the students after that, and Anna told them exactly what the school needed. The next year, each of the students at the school had a desk and attending school in shifts was no longer necessary.
• When African-American poet Nikki Giovanni was a teenager in Knoxville, Tennessee, people gathered together to protest a hate crime. Nikki’s grandmother explained that she and Nikki’s grandfather were too old to march in the protest — so to take their place in the march they had volunteered Nikki.
• One of the many dogs in author Gary Paulsen’s life was Cookie, the lead dog on his sledding team both in Minnesota and during the 1,049-mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Alaska. Cookie arrived in Mr. Paulsen’s life lean and hungry, and during his first two days with Mr. Paulsen, Cookie ate a 75-pound beaver carcass. It’s a good thing Cookie came into Mr. Paulsen’s life. She saved his life at least three times, including once when the ice broke under him and he plunged into an icy lake — Cookie roused the other dogs and they pulled Mr. Paulsen from the water. After Mr. Paulsen decided to give up running sled dogs, he invited Cookie into his house. One of the first things Cookie did was to eat Mr. Paulsen’s wife’s pet cat. After Cookie died in 1989, Mr. Paulsen dedicated his book Woodsong to her.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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