There was a brief paragraph yesterday on Writer's Almanac about the birthday of writer and humorist Max Shulman (1919-1988). Here's that paragraph ...
of the humorist Max Shulman (books by this author), born in St. Paul, Minnesota (1919). He wrote several books, including (1964) and (1971). He grew up during the Great Depression, and he said he became a humorist because "I turned early to humor as my branch of writing ... [because] life was bitter and I was not."
I looked up his obituary in the New York Times and saw some eerie parallels: he was born the same year as my mother; he died at 69 (my current age); he had bone cancer (the likely next step in my prostate cancer saga). (Here's a Link to that obit--Aug 29, 1988.)
Later (eagerly!) I read the book and got even better details than Hollywood permitted in those days, and that novel sent me off to the Portage Co Library (in Hiram), where I checked out and read some other Shulman novels--Barefoot Boy with Cheek, The Feather Merchants, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, and I Was a Teenage Dwarf. I loved all of them.
Link to one. And what a coincidence! When I watched it yesterday, it was an episode that featured a moment I clearly remembered--the moment Dobie learns, in science class, the word propinquity. He's taking zoology (high school) only because Thalia (his love) wants him to become a doctor, but he has no gifts in science. The assiduous, studious girl next him never speaks--finally, he gets her to--and she says, "I love you." And she goes on to explain that it's because of "propinquity"--nearness.
|Dobie & Maynard|
Link to the whole thing, which is much longer than I'd supposed--and made me recall that Dad recited only the first few lines (thank goodness!). I'm sure I wouldn't have liked the "kissed by strawberries" stuff. (Neither would Dad.)
Anyway, thanks to Writer's Almanac for reminding me of Shulman--and of the bright joy he brought me in Dark Adolescence.
PS--I have a first printing of Rally Round the Flag, Boys!. Just checked on ABE: It goes for $50-$60. Too little ... it's priceless!