May 22, 1998

When I Am Asked

by Lisel Mueller


Today's Reading: "When I Am Asked" by Lisel Mueller from WAVING FROM SHORE, published by Louisiana State University Press (1989).

It was in 1967 on this day that the children's program MISTER ROGER'S NEIGHBORHOOD premiered, hosted by Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers.

It's the birthday in New York, 1927, of PETER MATTHIESSEN, author of short stories and novels, but best known for his travel memoir, The Snow Leopard, which won him the National Book Award in 1979 &emdash; the story of his adventures in Nepal on the trail of the endangered snow leopard.

It was on this day in 1925 that Gertrude Stein wrote to F. Scott Fitzgerald about his new novel, THE GREAT GATSBY: "This is as good a book [as THIS SIDE OF PARADISE] and different and older, and that is what one does, one does not get better but different and older and that is always a pleasure."

It's the birthday in Vienna, 1920, of astronomer Thomas Gold, who maintains that the universe has no beginning or end, but is continually expanding and creating new matter from empty space.

It's the birthday of actor Laurence Olivier (WUTHERING HEIGHTS; REBECCA), born in Dorking, England, in 1907.

It's the anniversary of THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY, back in 1868, when the Reno Gang held up the Jefferson, Madison, and Indianapolis train at Marshfield, Indiana. After overpowering the crew, they unhooked the locomotive and one other car and sped to a spot outside the town of Seymour, in southeastern Indiana, where they cracked the safe and made off with $98,000.

The creator of detective Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was born on this day in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1859.

It's the birthday in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, 1844, of the painter MARY CASSATT, who became famous in the last quarter of the 19th century for beautiful paintings of mothers with their children, of women at tea parties, other scenes from the home, all done in a soft, Impressionistic style.

The founder of modern ophthalmology, Albrecht von Grafe, was born on this day in Berlin, 1828.

It's the birthday in Leipzig, Germany, 1813, of RICHARD WAGNER, the composer of big, stormy, music-dramas, and whose life was about as turbulent as his music. Rienzi was his first big success, written when he was 29; The Flying Dutchman, the following year.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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