Jul. 31, 1998

For the Life of Him and Her

by Reed Whittemore


Today's Reading: "For the Life of Him and Her" by Reed Whittemore from THE PAST, THE PRESENT, THE FUTURE, published by University of Arkansas Press (1990).

It's the feast day of ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA, who in the 1530s founded the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits.

The MELVILLE MARATHON gets underway at noon today in the coastal town of Mystic, Connecticut. It's a 24-hour reading of Herman Melville's Moby Dick on the decks of the old whaling ship, Charles W. Morgan. It's held every year in honor of Melville's birthday, which is tomorrow.

It's the birthday in London, 1929, of writer LYNNE REID BANKS, the author of The Indian in the Cupboard (1980) which recently came out in a film version, and dozens of other books and plays, many of them for young readers. Her first novel came out in 1960, The L-Shaped Room, which began a trilogy about Jane Graham, a young single mother; the others are The Backward Shadow, and Two is Lonely, written in the 1970s.

It's the birthday in Turin, 1919, of the Italian chemist and writer, PRIMO LEVI (PREE-mo LAY-vee) author of If This Is a Man, his first-person account of surviving Auschwitz. During WWII Levi was in the Italian Resistance and was arrested and shipped to Auschwitz, but wasn't killed because he was a chemist. After the war, Levi managed a Turin paint and synthetic resin factory, while writing more memoirs, poems, and novels. His best-known book came out in 1975, called The Periodic Table; 21 essays, discussing each of the elements – Argon through Zinc – which then served as a springboard for Levi's reflections on morality, history, or Auschwitz.

It's the birthday of SEBASTIAN SPERING KRESGE, who founded KRESGE'S discount and variety stores – born this day in Bald Mount, Pennsylvania, 1867. He was a traveling salesman before he opened up a couple of stores in Memphis and Detroit in the 1890s, where everything sold for under a dime. He said, "Hard work and the Bible can bring any youngster to that glorious sunset of success."

It was on this day in 1703 that the English writer DANIEL DEFOE was made to stand in pillory for writing a satirical, anti-church and anti-government pamphlet called "The Shortest Way with the Dissenters." He served another 15 months in prison, and when he got out his business had crumbled, so he turned to writing, turning out Robinson Crusoe in 1719, and Moll Flanders three years later.

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




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