Shortly after Jeannette Bruce finished the story on astrology that begins on page 52 we insisted that she have her own horoscope done by a computer named Astroflash, which is a central character in Squinting at the Stars of Sport. Astroflash digested the vital facts about Miss Bruce—an Aquarius—and then gave pause to all astrological scoffers by reporting back that she had a tendency to "live dangerously" and a propensity for "getting involved in futile adventures."
"Who, me?" squeaked Jeannette, rising up to her full 5 feet. But her readers and her editors would have to say, "Yes, you." We have, for example, no other writer who for one night had the starring—or luniest—role in the 1969 Ice Capades. She was invited to sit on a crescent moon, dressed in a costume of lights, some 30 feet above the ice in Madison Square Garden, the focal point for an applauding crowd of 14,000.
From below she looked serene as she waved to the audience ("No, dear, not quite so much of a karate chop," the director had advised her at rehearsal) but she was decidedly living dangerously. "For one thing, I have an acute fear of heights," she reported back. "Most Aquariuses do. And I was sitting on one of my light bulbs."
It was hardly coincidental that her wave had a karate flair, for she had followed up her first major story for us, Confessions of a Judo Roll-Out, with 2½ years of judo lessons in which she progressed steadily through the spectrum of self-defense belts: white, yellow, green. "I kept on out of inability to give up a losing battle," she says, "and one rainy night it all seemed worthwhile. The thing every judo student dreams of happened to me. I was walking down Sixth Avenue about 9 p.m., when a man stepped out of a dark doorway and tried to snatch my purse. How prepared I should have been, how ready to smash him to the pavement with a morote seoinage or a flourishing foot sweep! Instead, I hit him over the head with my umbrella."
January 19, 1970
Other Bruce misadventures have been in connection with her assignments—on a ratio of roughly 1 to 1. There was her Coney Island research, where for two weeks she got seasick on the rides, a sailing story in the Bahamas, where once again she proved unseaworthy, and the taking of an Afghan to dog-obedience school (she never owned a dog, but loves cats).
Miss Bruce comes to neither sport nor writing casually. She first blended the two at USC, where she was a football cheerleader, a literature major and the author of a two-act tragedy that was produced in Los Angeles but billed as a comedy, much to her mortification. Later she wrote a novel ("6,000 copies and it sank like a stone") and is now working on a book called Judo for Children, presumably without umbrellas.
We can't promise what Jeannette Bruce's next story will be. We never know. She came by the other day to say she would be gone for two weeks. She said there is a sporting implication to health foods. She said she has purchased a two-week supply of sunflower seeds and is.... But never mind. Just look forward to the return of our Aquarius. We always do.