Aug. 20, 1998
The Unquiet Grave
Today's Reading: "The Unquiet Grave" by an anonymous author.
It's the birthday in Tucson, Arizona, 1933, of children's author SUE ALEXANDER, best known for her 1983 book, Nadia the Willful. She went to Northwestern University and began publishing children's stories in the early 1970s, with books like Witch, Goblin, and Sometimes Ghost.
It's the birthday in 1913, Hartford, Connecticut, of ROGER SPERRY, winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work in brain research. Sperry was the first to show how the left and right hemispheres of the brain pass information back and forth. He worked first on newts, then on humans, and determined that the left side is normally dominant in analytical and verbal work, the right in music and spatial tasks, and that the two communicate through something called the corpus callosum, a thick cable of over 200 million nerve fibers.
It was on this day in 1904 that the ABBEY THEATER was founded in Dublin. William Butler Yeats and other Irish writers quickly began creating plays for it that started an Irish literary renaissance; plays like The King's Threshold, and Playboy of the Western World, using everyday language and situations for the plots. The Abbey was also the scene of some famous opening night riots in its first years, because some audience members thought the plays were unflattering to Ireland.
It's the birthday of theologian PAUL TILLICH, in 1886, in Starzeddel, a little village in what was then Germany but is now Poland. His father was a Lutheran preacher and Tillich followed in his footsteps, spending all four years of WWI as a Germany army chaplain on the front lines. After the war, he taught at several German universities, developing his own theology of socialism blended with Christianity a belief that got him kicked out of Germany by Hitler in 1933. He taught for 22 years at Union Theological Seminary in New York, then went on to Harvard and the University of Chicago, lecturing on religion's role in psychiatry, business, philosophy and everyday life. He said, "Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: 'You are accepted.'"
It's the birthday in 1881, in Warwickshire, England, of EDGAR GUEST, the writer of sentimental verse that was very popular early in this century. His family came to the States when he was 10 years old. Four years later he got a job as an office boy at the Detroit Free Press, then worked his way up to reporter, and then a writer of a daily rhyme for the paper. They were usually about home and the virtue of hard work, like: Somebody said that it couldn't be done, But he with a chuckle replied That maybe it couldn't, but he would be one Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
It was on this day in 1741 that the Danish explorer VITUS JONAS BERING discovered Alaska. The waters to the west of it are called the Bering Sea and the Bering Strait. Little Diomede Island, in the Strait, is only 2.5 miles from Russia's Big Diomede Island.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®