Jun. 18, 1998

What to Know about Hanging On

by James A. Autry


Today's Reading: "What to Know About Hanging On" by James A. Autry from LOVE AND PROFIT, published by William Morrow.

It' s the birthday of the writer and illustrator CHRIS VAN ALLSBURG, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1949, author of children's books like the 1981 Jumanji; and The Polar Express in 1985: the story of a train that carries a little boy to the North Pole, where he meets Santa and receives the one gift he wanted more than anything, a bell from Santa's sleigh.

It's the birthday in Birmingham, Alabama, 1937, of novelist GAIL GODWIN. She began as a reporter for the Miami Herald, and then worked in the early 1960s at the U.S. embassy in London. When she came back to the States, she wrote The Perfectionists (1970) and Glass People (1972), novels about women smothered by marriage. She's probably best known for her 1982 book, A Mother and Two Daughters, about Nell Strickland and her daughters Cate and Lydia. Godwin's also taught writing at the University of Iowa, Vassar College and Columbia University; she says "Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater."

It's the birthday in Pelham Manor, New York, 1877, of JAMES MONTGOMERY FLAGG, who in the early years of this century was probably the nation's most famous illustrator, his drawings in all the major magazines. During WWI he was commissioned to come up with several dozen war posters, one of which became the "I Want YOU for U.S. Army" poster.

It's the birthday in 1857, New York, of HENRY CLAY FOLGER, onetime president of Standard Oil, who in the late 19th century began collecting nearly every item related to William Shakespeare he could find. In 1930, right behind the Library of Congress in Washington, construction began on the Folger Shakespeare Library. It was completed two years later and now houses a quarter of a million books and about 55,000 16th- and 17th-century manuscripts.

Today marks the anniversary, in 1815, of NAPOLEON'S DEFEAT AT WATERLOO, ending the 12-year Napoleonic Wars. Waterloo is in central Belgium, 12 miles outside of Brussels, and the battle began about 11 in the morning, when 74,000 French troops attacked a smaller number of allied British, Dutch, and Germans under the Duke of Wellington. The conditions that day were awful, it'd been raining hard and the fields were a mess, but this worked to the Allies' advantage, making it hard for Napoleon's troops to score a quick victory. At one o'clock in the afternoon, 90,000 Prussian troops arrived to fortify the Allies, and Napoleon was routed, ending his career.

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




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