Oct. 13, 1998

Happiness Makes Up in Height for What it Lacks in Length

by Robert Frost


Today's Reading: "Happiness Makes Up in Height for What It Lacks in Length" by Robert Frost from THE POETRY OF ROBERT FROST, published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

It's jazz pianist ART TATUM's birthday, born in Toledo, Ohio, 1910. He was blind from birth, and started out playing violin when he was a boy, then got hired as a teenager to be the staff pianist at WSPD in Toledo. NBC picked up the show and aired it nationwide, and Tatum became famous particularly for how fast he could play.

It's the birthday of novelist ERNEST KELLOGG GANN, born in 1910, Lincoln, Nebraska, author of a number of popular naval and aviation novels that came out in the 1940s and '50s, like Island in the Sky, Soldier of Fortune, and The High and Mighty, most of which were made into movies. He flew in the Army Air Corps during WWII, and his books were based on his military experiences.

The editorial cartoonist HERBLOCK's birthday is today, born in Chicago, 1909, as Herbert Lawrence Block. He started cartooning professionally when he was 20 years old, drawing for the Chicago Daily News. In 1946 he joined the Washington Post and made his name lampooning Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s.

It's the birthday of writer ARNA BONTEMPS in Alexandria, Louisiana, 1902, author of God Sends Sunday (1931) and Black Thunder (1935). Bontemps broke in as a poet in the 1920s, then after writing novels turned to children's books. One of them, The Pasteboard Bandit, though written in 1935, just came out last year, 25 years after Bontemps' death.

It's the birthday of CONRAD RICHTER, in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, 1890, author of the trilogy The Awakening Land, about American pioneer life. He got his first job when he was 19 years old editing the Patton, Pennsylvania newspaper, then left journalism when he was in his late 30s and moved out to Albuquerque, New Mexico to research pioneer life. The first book in his trilogy came out in 1940, The Trees; The Fields followed six years later; and The Town — the story of Sayward Luckett Wheeler and her life as an early 19th-century Ohio River Valley pioneer — won Richter the 1951 Pulitzer Prize.

George Washington laid the cornerstone of the WHITE HOUSE on this day in 1792, which makes it the oldest building in Washington. It took eight years to finish, and John Adams and his family were the first to move in, in November, 1800.

It's the anniversary in 1775 of the U.S. NAVY. The Continental Congress authorized construction of two cruisers, one with 10 guns, the other with 14.

It's the birthday of Mary McCauly, better known by her nickname, MOLLY PITCHER, born in the south-central Pennsylvania town of Carlisle, 1753. Her husband enlisted in 1777 as a gunner in the Pennsylvania artillery, and she followed him into the Revolutionary War. The legend goes that, a year later, in June of 1778, at the Battle of Monmouth, New Jersey, she carried a pitcher of water back and forth from a well to the frontline soldiers. When her husband collapsed from the heat, she took his place at the cannon, helping load and fire it until the battle was over. After the war she worked as a nurse, and in her old age the state of Pennsylvania awarded her a pension of $40 for her heroism at Monmouth.

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




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