Monday

Jun. 22, 1998

Childhood

by Barbara Ras

MONDAY 6/22

Today's Reading: "Childhood" by Barbara Ras from BITE EVERY SORROW, published by Louisiana State University Press (1998).

It was on this day in 1940 that FRANCE SURRENDERED TO GERMANY. Eight days earlier, the Germans had marched into Paris and French President Petain requested a truce with Hitler. The papers were signed in the same old railroad car used in 1918 for the WWI armistice, a document that punished Germany. Returning there was a deep humiliation for the French.

Two years later on this day, in 1941, Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, the INVASION OF RUSSIA. It was the largest military operation in history at the time, 121 divisions attacking a 2,000-mile front from the Baltic to the Black Sea, and it caught the Soviets completely by surprise.

It's the birthday in 1906, Englewood, New Jersey of writer and aviator ANNE MORROW LINDBERGH. She's best known for two books: North to the Orient (1935) about flying over Canada and Kamchatka to pioneer routes to Asia; and Gift from the Sea (1955), eight autobiographical essays inspired by different kinds of seashells, dealing with love and marriage, youth and old age.

It's the birthday in Sucha, Austria, 1906, of filmmaker BILLY WILDER, who fled the Nazis in 1933 and came to work in Hollywood, starting off as a screenwriter. The first picture he directed was in 1942, The Major and the Minor, and over the next 40 years produced, directed, or wrote movies like Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, Stalag 17, The Apartment, and Sunset Boulevard.

It's the birthday in Osnabruck, Germany, 1898, of novelist ERICH MARIE REMARQUE, drafted into the army when he was 18 years old, wounded several times in WWI and afterward wrote a novel titled in German, Nothing New in the West, which when it was translated in the U.S. became All Quiet on the Western Front. A brutal story of life in the WWI trenches.

It's the birthday in Norfolk, England, 1856, of SIR H. RIDER HAGGARD, the English novelist best known for the romantic adventure King Solomon's Mines. When he was a young man, Haggard spent six years working in South Africa, then went back to England and started writing novels. The first two failed, but in 1885 he published King Solomon's Mines and it was a huge hit; about the explorer Allan Quatermain who takes Sir Henry Curtis on an expedition deep into Africa to find Sir Henry's brother. They find both the brother and the legendary diamond mines of King Solomon, then make off with some diamonds and return home to split the treasure.

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

 









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