Discipline in the Crosby home
CALL ME LUCKY, by Bing Crosby (Fredk. Muller, 10s. 6d.).
HEN my mother hears me say that luck has had a powerful influence on my life, she pooh-poohs such talk. She says: 'Your luck has been my prayers I've asked the Poor Clare nuns to offer up for you.' " Mrs. Crosby, her son adds, has visited the convent of the Poor flares in Spokane ever since she came to that City as a young married woman.
Bing now tells the story of his life in casual, idiomatic style, so strongly Americanese in some places that I simply don't understand it. For instance, what are "hominy grits"? Whatever they are, President (then General) Eisenhower asked Bing to send him some back in 1947., What about a few footnotes for unenlightened Britons? Bing Crosby got a good start in life. "Mother was the level-headed one of the family, its business manager, the stretcher-outer of Dad's modest salary. She was also our family disciplinarian. The small Crosbys got a healthy amount of corporal punishment dealt out with a hairbrush or a strap. But Dad let mother do it." Education by the Jesuits at Gonzaga High School played its part in the formation of Ding's characterand he must have thought them good educationists for he has sent his four boys to be educated by the Jesuits too.
He takes the duties of parenthood seriously.
"Gary," he says of his eldest son, "had eight years of grade school with the sisters and four years of high school with the Jesuit fathers. A considerable amount of restraint is a part of both these educational systems. They go in for supervised
study at night, and no freedom except on Saturdays and Sundays-even then enly until 10 p.m."
It is is no easy job, he says, raising sons of a movie star in Hollywood. His wife Dixie was an ever stricter parent than Bing. "When it came to discipline, Dixie didn't fool." But now that Dixie is dead, father has to do double duty as a parent.
Holiday time means hard work for all four on the Crosby ranch-and they are paid for what they do. Play hours have a schedule too. The 17year-old twins had to be in at 10; the 18-year-old at 11. The rules held good every night unless there was a party or a dance for young people at a neighbour's home with the parents present. In that case they could stay as long as the party lasted or as long as the parents were there.
"Some of my friends think I'm too tough a disciplinarian with my sons," he says. Some people, however, would say it was sound sense.
Two at least of the Crosby boys are going in for the ranching business. They're at the State College of Washington studying animal husbandry, ranch economics and ranch management. The total Crosby herd on the family ranch is 3,600.
Bing fans who know him only as a crooner and film actor will be surprised at the scope and extent of his "enterprises." all described here in his own conversational style.
He talks with utmost candour about his sticking-out ears, of how the studio tried gluing them back, how the gum used to melt in the heat of the studio lamps until he literally "went on strike" and said they must stay as they were; of how the skin under his toupet itches and how he tries to get his romantic scenes staged out of doors so that he can wear a hat instead.
There's many pages.
About his wife Dixie, Bing Crosby writes with feeling but no sentimentality. "I don't plan to talk about my grief at losing her. I believe that grief is the most private emotion a human being can have. and I'm going to keep mine that way." a laugh on these
The Mother of Henry VIII THE TUDOR ROSE, by Margaret Campbell Barnes (Macdonald, 12s. 6d.).
THIS novel covers the period of some of the last decades of Catholic England, its central character being the mother of Henry VIII. The marriage of Elizabeth Plantagenet of York to Henry Tudor of Lancaster ended the Wars of the Roses. Miss Barnes writes a sympathetic character-study of Elizabeth, her life as a young woman when her usurping uncle of Gloucester was on the throne, and her subsequent use as a pawn in the Royal game. And she successfully portrays a woman whose faith is unmistakable. despite the violence and murder which surrounds her life.