Bulletin Back 12-29-2013

The Story of Red Nose

A man named Bob May, depressed and broken-hearted, stared out his drafty apartment window

into the chilling December night. His four-year-old daughter Barbara sat on his lap quietly

sobbing. Bob’s wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer. Little Barbara couldn’t understand why her

Mommy could never come home. Barbara looked up into her Dad’s eyes and asked, “Why isn’t

Mommy just like everybody else’s Mommy?”

Bob’s jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears. Her question brought waves of grief, but

also of anger. It had been the story of Bob’s life. Life always had to be different for Bob.

When he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys. He was too little to compete in sports

and he was often called names. From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed to fit in.

Bob did complete college, married his loving wife and was grateful to get his job as a copywriter

at Montgomery Ward during the Great Depression. Then he was blessed with his little girl.

It was all short-lived. Evelyn’s bout with cancer stripped them of their savings and now Bob

and his daughter were forced to live in a two-room apartment in the Chicago slums. Evelyn died

days before Christmas in 1938.

Bob struggled to give hope to his child, for whom he couldn’t even afford to buy a Christmas

gift. But if he couldn’t buy a gift, he was determined to make a storybook. Bob created an

animal character and told the animal’s story to little Barbara to give her comfort and hope.

Again and again Bob told the story, embellishing it more with each telling.

 The story Bob May created was his own autobiography in fable form. The character he created

was a misfit outcast like he was. A little reindeer named Rudolph, with a big shiny nose. Bob

finished the book just in time to give it to his girl on Christmas Day.

 The story doesn’t end there. The general manger of Montgomery Ward caught wind of the

storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the rights to print the book. Wards

printed Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus

in their stores. By 1946 Wards had printed and distributed more than six million copies of

Rudolph. That same year, a major publisher wanted to purchase the rights from Wards to print

an updated version of the book. In an unprecedented gesture of kindness, the CEO of Wards

returned all rights back to Bob May. The book became a best seller. Many toy and marketing

deals followed and Bob May, now remarried with a growing family, became wealthy from the

story he created to comfort his grieving daughter.

 The story doesn’t end there either. Bob’s brother-in law, Johnny Marks, made a song adaptation

to Rudolph. Though the song was turned down by such popular vocalists as Bing Crosby and

Dinah Shore, it was recorded by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry. Rudolph the Red-Nosed

Reindeer was released in 1949 and became a phenomenal success, selling more records than any

other Christmas song, with the exception of White Christmas.

 The gift of love that Bob May created for his daughter kept returning back to bless him again

and again. And Bob May learned the lesson, just like his dear friend Rudolph, that being

different isn’t so bad. In fact being different can be a blessing.

Love Never Fails ~ Happy New Year!

Bro Mark

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