Week of May 26

Consider this:

General Douglas MacArthur was turned down for admission to West Point not once but twice. But he tried a third time, was accepted and marched into the history books.

Basketball superstar Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

In 1889, Rudyard Kipling received the following rejection letter from the San Francisco Examiner: "I'm sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language."

Winston Churchill failed sixth grade. He did not become Prime Miister of England until he was 62, and then only after a lifetime of defeats and setbacks. His greatest contributions came when he was a "senior citizen".

The parents of the famous opera singer Enrico Caruso wanted him to be an engineer. His teacher said he had no voice at all and could not sing.

Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and didn't read until he was seven. His teacher described him as "mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams". He was expelled and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.

Louis Pasteur was only a mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies and ranked 15th out of 22 in chemistry.

In 1944, Emmeline Snively, director of the Blue Book Modeling Agency, told modeling hopeful Norma Jean Baker (Marilyn Monroe), "You'd better learn secretarial work or else get married".

While turning down the British rock group called the Beatles, one executive of Decca Recording Company said, "We don't like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out."

In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told Presley, "You ain't goin' nowhere ... son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck".

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, it did not ring off the hook with calls from potential backers. President Rutherford Hayes said, "That's an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one of them?"

Rafer Johnson, the decathlon champion, was born with a club foot.

When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he tried over 2,000 experiments before he got it to work. A young reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, "I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2,000-step process."

After years of progressive hearing loss, by age 46 German composer Ludwig van Beethoven had become completely deaf. Nevertheless, he wrote his greatest music, including five symphonies, during his later years.

Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen, in Chicken Soup for the Soul


Week of May 19

For the past 20 years I have spoken to all kinds of audiences in the character of Benjamin Franklin, complete with costume. One day after a school assembly, I was visiting a fifth-grade classroom to answer questions. One student raised his hand and said, "I thought you died." This was not an unusual question and I answered it by saying, "Well, I did die on April 17, 1790, when I was 84 years old, but I didn't like it and I'm never going to do it again."

I immediately asked for any other questions and called on a boy at the back of the room who raised his hand. He asked, "When you were in Heaven, did you see my mother there?"

My heart stopped. I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me.

My only thought was, don't blow this! I realized for an 11-year-old boy to ask that question in front of all of his classmates, it had to either be a very recent occurrence or of utmost concern. I also knew I had to say something.

Then I heard my voice say: "I'm not sure if she is the one I think she was, but if she is, she was the prettiest angel there."

The smile on his face told me that it was the right answer. I'm not sure where it came from, but I think I just may have had a little help from the prettiest angel there.

Ralph Archbold


Week of May 12

This week's "thought" is dedicated to Donna Lee !

The Far Side by Gary Larson


Week of May 5

A few years ago at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with the relish to run to the finish and win.

All, that is, except one boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and paused. Then they all turned around and went back. Every one of them. One girl with Down's syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This will make it better". Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.

Everyone in the stadium stood and the cheering went on for ten minutes.

Bob French


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