For the past 20 years I have spoken to all kinds of audiences in the character of Benjamin Franklin, complete with costume. One day, I was visiting and talking with pupils of a primary school. One student raised his hand and said, "I thought you died." This was not an unusual
question and I tried to find a suitable answer by saying, "Well, I did die on April 17, 1790, when I was 84 years old, but I didn't like it and I'm never going to do it again.”
I immediately asked for any other questions and called on a boy at the back of the room who raised his hand. He asked, "When you were in Heaven, did you see my mother there?”
My heart stopped. I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me.
My only thought was, don't blow this! I realized for an 11-year-old boy to ask that question in front of all of his classmates, it had to either be a very recent occurrence or of utmost concern. I also knew I had to say something to comfort him.
Then I heard my voice say: "I'm not sure among I met was your mother, but if it is true, she was the prettiest angel there".
The smile on his face told me that it was the right answer. I'm not sure where it came from, but I think I just may have had a little help from the prettiest angle there.
The heart of a fool is in his mouth, but the mouth of a wise man is in his heart.
- Benjamin Franklin