Sour Power: Here’s to a Little Boy Who Loved to Eat Lemons

Eleven-month-old Michael Thomas Roesle crawls toward his choice of two treats -- an ice cream cone or a lemon.
Francis Miller—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Eleven-month-old Michael Thomas Roesle crawls toward his choice of two treats -- an ice cream cone or a lemon.
Children
'40s

As any parent knows, the only certainty about children is that they’ll constantly surprise you. For instance: a child given the choice between, say, a sweet treat and a notoriously sour, wince-inducing fruit will always, always choose the sweet treat. Right? It stands to reason. After all, what kid doesn’t love candy or chocolate or (better yet) ice cream?

What kid, indeed! Meet young Michael Thomas Roesle. As LIFE told its readers in a Feb. 1948 Miscellany feature in the magazine:

One day when he was 9 months old Michael Thomas Roesle was squirming on his mother’s lap while she tried to serve tea to a neighbor. Inevitably Michael Thomas got his hands on a slice of lemon and popped it into his mouth. A gargantuan pucker swept across his face, wrinkling it like an old prune. But Michael Thomas manfully continued to chew. Then he reached eagerly for another slice. Now his parents, who live in Richmond, Calif., have to keep a bag of lemons handy all the time . . . and Michael Thomas eats them by the dozen. In fact, he picks them over chocolate ice-cream cones 10 times out of 10.

So — here’s to Michael Thomas, and the countless other kids everywhere who manage, simply by being themselves, to confound all expectations and make life so perfectly, marvelously unpredictable.

Eleven-month-old Michael Thomas Roesle reacts to a bite of his favorite food: a lemon.

Francis Miller—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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