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Wednesday, March 25,2009

Wise Up: Husbands and Wives

By Athens NEWS Web Editor

"˘ American artist Benjamin West became engaged to Elizabeth Shewell before he left the United States to study art in Europe. Although he was away for many years, Ms. Shewell never forgot him. When Mr. West's father decided to travel to England to see him, Mr. West asked him to bring Ms. Shewell with him.

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Wise Up! by David Bruce

Unfortunately, Ms. Shewell's brother opposed the marriage, and he locked her up to keep her from going to England. It was Benjamin Franklin, always a resourceful man, who arranged her escape and provided a rowboat for her to reach the ship that would take her to England and her fiancé so they could be married.

"˘ One cold night, children's book author Joanna Cole and her husband, Phil, put an electric blanket on their bed incorrectly-her controls made his part of the blanket warmer or cooler, while his controls made her part of the blanket warmer or cooler. Joanna was freezing, so she kept turning up the heat. Eventually, she had turned up the heat as high as it would go and her husband jumped out of bed because he was burning up-only then did they figure out what had happened. According to Ms. Cole, she and her husband are not quite as mixed up as her characters Big Goof and Little Goof.

"˘ As a world-class track athlete, Thelma Wright competed away from home, meaning long separations from her husband, Lee. And even when her husband was nearby, practices, competitions, and media interviews sometimes kept her from seeing him. At the 1972 Olympic Games, many fans asked for her autograph and gave her pieces of papers to sign. While she was surrounded by autograph-seeking fans one day, someone gave her a crumpled piece of paper. She looked up to see who had given her the paper-it was her husband, who said, "Hi, I just wanted to say hello."

"˘ Nineteenth-century cartoonist Eugene "Zim" Zimmerman often took his art supplies along on fishing trips. During one such expedition, a bull appeared and Mr. Zimmerman took off running, leaving both art supplies and fishing supplies behind. Whenever Mr. Zimmerman had to draw a scene such as the one he had endured, he would relive the scene in his mind, then draw it. During one such mental reenactment, his wife asked, "Heavens! Why are you making such faces?" Mr. Zimmerman replied, "Don't disturb me, please. I'm being chased by a bull."

"˘ When Albert Schweitzer met and fell in love with Helene Breslau, he had already formed a plan to go to Africa as a physician. He knew that his plan would result in lots of hardship, and he told Helene that he was worried that the hardship would be too much for her. Helene replied, "I will take a training course in nursing, and then you won't be able to get along without me." That's exactly what happened. She did take the training course, and she went to Africa as Dr. Schweitzer's nurse and wife.

"˘ In the days when children's book author Gary Paulsen owned a Great Dane named Caesar, they liked to play a game called Get the Kitty. Caesar understood the word "Kitty," and when things were boring, Mr. Paulsen would yell, "Get the kitty! Get the kitty!" Caesar would then tear around the house looking for the nonexistent kitten. Because Caesar, in his eagerness to get the kitty, upset tables and jumped over furniture, this was a game that they played only when Mrs. Paulsen was not at home.

"˘ In the first half of the 20th century, the Chicago White Sox had an effective way of ensuring that players maintained their training. Whenever a player would stay out late at night while on the road, Jimmy Dykes would send this form letter to the player's wife: "Your husband has got into the habit of staying out late of nights. I wish you would find where he goes and what he does and let me know."

"˘ Some spouses are very accommodating. While illustrating his Caldecott Medal-winning children's book "Jumanji," Chris Van Allsburg used photographs and models, as well as drawing from his imagination. He needed to draw pictures of monkeys, but he couldn't find any photographs of monkeys in the exact poses he needed, so his wife posed for him and he drew the monkeys using her as the model.

"˘ Sometimes people hear song lyrics incorrectly. For example, singer-songwriter Tom Waits' wife Kathleen Brennan thought that the refrain of Creedence Clearwater Revival's song "Bad Moon Rising" went, "There's a bathroom on the right." (Actually, as you entered many of the clubs that Mr. Waits used to perform in, there was a bathroom on the right.)

"˘ Eleanor Roosevelt was concerned about the problems of low-paid workers. The First Lady occasionally invited low-paid workers to dinner in the White House, where she made sure they sat by her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That way, the low-paid workers could talk to the President about their problems.


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