Jul. 24, 1998


by Harry Jr. Newman


Today's Reading: "Testimonial" by Harry Newman, Jr. from BEHIND PINSTRIPES.

The LOWELL FOLK FESTIVAL begins today in Lowell, Massachusetts the largest free folk festival in the country.

At the University of Alaska it's the FAIRBANKS SUMMER ARTS FESTIVAL beginning today with workshops and performances in everything from music and visual arts to ice skating theater.

And in Austria it's the first day of one of Europe's major musical events, the SALZBURG FESTIVAL, running through the end of August.

The historian RICHARD B. MORRIS was born on this day in 1904, Manhattan. He taught for years at Columbia University, chairing the history department and specializing in the Colonial era, and writing books like John Jay, the Nation and the Court, and Seven.

It's the birthday in Montgomery, Alabama, 1900, of ZELDA SAYRE FITZGERALD, who in the 1920s and early '30s tried to make it as a painter and a dancer, but found her success writing short stories and articles, often in collaboration with her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald. The two of them lived lavishly in Europe and New York, and were part of the American expatriate community in Paris after WWI. She came out in 1932 with her only novel, Save Me the Waltz, about a vivacious Southern belle who marries a flamboyant, popular writer – written while Zelda was a patient at a Baltimore psychiatric clinic.

AMELIA EARHART was born 100 years ago today in Atchison, Kansas, 1898. Before she started flying she worked as a military nurse in WWI, then as a social worker in the slums of Boston. In June of 1928 she wedged herself between two gas tanks behind the pilots of a plane bound for England and became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. She was instantly famous, but she downplayed the flight, saying she'd been little more than "a sack of potatoes" onboard. Four years later she flew the same route solo with her own plane, the first woman to do so, and in 1935 made the first solo flight of any kind between Hawaii and California, a longer distance than her transatlantic flight. She and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared near Howland Island in the central Pacific on July 2, 1937, attempting to fly around the world.

Writer ROBERT GRAVES was born on this day in London, 1895. He was severely wounded in the trenches of WWI and became famous for his 1929 war memoir Good-Bye to All That. He followed that with nearly 130 books, everything from essays and fiction, to criticism and novels – all of which he said were written to make money so he could devote himself to his real love, poetry: "Prose books," he said, "are the show dogs I breed and sell to support my cat."

It was on this day in 1847 that Mormon leader BRIGHAM YOUNG and a party of 147 followers arrived in Utah's SALT LAKE VALLEY and began setting up a community. After years of persecution in the Midwest, they'd fled the Illinois town of Nauvoo where the church's founder, Joseph Smith, was murdered by a mob of local citizens. The very first day they arrived, they began planting crops. Over the next 20 years, about 80,000 Mormon pioneers traveled by wagon, handcart, or on foot to Salt Lake.

It's the birthday in France, 1802, of ALEXANDRE DUMAS who first made his reputation as a playwright then came out with two popular novels, The Three Musketeers in 1844, and a year later, The Count of Monte Cristo.

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




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