Dispatches > Quotables


Issue: "Can the boom last?," Oct. 16, 1999

We need someone who's afraid of frogs. We need someone to cry when I get mad-not argue. We need a little one who can kiss without leaving egg or jam or gum. We need a girl. We had one once.

Former President George Bush, from a letter to his mother a few years after the death of his 3-year-old daughter, Robin, from leukemia in 1953. The letter is included in a book released last week, All the Best, the ex-president's collection of selected letters and diary entries, which stands in place of the memoirs Mr. Bush says he will never write. At the time of the lament for a lost daughter, the Bushes had four sons; in 1959 they were blessed with another daughter, Dorothy.

I've got children, much older; they're the most precious thing I have.... That was about the first thing I thought of. I thought maybe there was a chance.

Chicago policeman Edward Tribe, who with officer Frank Guererro dove into the 59-degree water of Lake Michigan to try to rescue a mother and two young children. The mother evidently drove the car into the lake as part of a murder-suicide. The two officers were unsuccessful, and they themselves, overcome by the cold, had to be pulled from the frigid waters.

You've got to do something.

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McDonald's french-fry fryer Hazel Howard, 90, of Lynn, Mass., on why she continues to work. Last week, the grandmother of 12, great-grandmother of 14, and great-great-grandmother of one received a surprise birthday party at the restaurant with a half-dozen relatives, cake, and a restaurant-wide singing of "Happy Birthday to You."

My whole purpose in life is to help destroy your society.

Confessed murderer Brandon H. Wilson, to a jury that considered whether to sentence the 21-year-old drifter to death. The killer slashed and stabbed 9-year-old Matthew Cecchi in a public restroom last November. "Execute me!" he demanded of the jurors, after commenting that he would kill again "in a second" if given the chance.

I'm speechless.

U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, House Science Committee chairman on the news that NASA lost its $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter because one set of engineers was working with metric measurements while another worked with English measurements.


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