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Merry Christmas!



The True Story of Rudolph




A man named Bob May, depressed and brokenhearted,

stared out his draft apartment window into the chilling

December night.



His 4-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.



Small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys. He was too little at the time to compete in sports. He was often called names he'd rather not remember.



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.

But it was all short-lived. Evelyn's bout with cancer stripped them of all their savings and now Bob and his daughter were forced to live in a two-room apartment in the Chicago slums. Evelyn died just 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 one – a storybook! Bob had created an animal character in his own mind 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.

Who was the character? What was the story all about? The story Bob May created was his own autobiography in fable form. The character he created was a misfit outcast like he was. The name of the character? A little reindeer named Rudolph, with a big shiny nose. Bob finished the book just in time to give it to his little girl on Christmas Day. But the story doesn't end there.


The general manager of Montgomery Ward caught wind of the little storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the rights to print the book. Wards went on to print, “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. But 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 DinahShore , 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 so long ago kept on 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.



MERRY CHRISTMAS!




Enjoy life, it has an experation date.
 

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Molon Labe
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Good story Mike, thanks for posting, and you and yours have a Merry Christmas
 

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That is a great story. Johnny Marks was a great song writer.
 

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Bulge,

Isn't it funny how every time you drive by a wreck, you just can't help but look? I guess that is what made me read the above referenced Snopes account of your story about Rudolf. I read both stories twice. Even though I thought both stories were wonderful reflections on a very difficult time in our life as a country and in the life of Bob May and his family, the one you told us warmed my heart. Maybe that is what Christmas is about:the ability of a story, perhaps not an exact, scientific analysis of a measurable, quantifiable event, but just a sweet little story, to warm the hard cold walls of our too frequently broken hearts. So, my friend, thank you for warming my heart. In February or March, I'll read the Snopes version if I have nothing better to do, but for now, I just remember the feeling of warmth I got imagining the little girl sitting in her Dad's lap listening to the Story of Rudolph.
 

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My feelings exactly. I'm glad to have read this. Even though the Snopes story may be quite true, it's a shame that some people want to "piss on your parade" or show their so called intelligence by pointing this out.

oh well, that's how it is in 2013. However, just for a second, it was great to believe and hope.
I'm sure my post will draw the wrath of many, but who cares.
 

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It doesn't matter either way. It is a great story, no matter how you read either version. Sometimes you have to stop and reflect on the big picture.
 
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