Oct. 16, 1998

What the Plants Say

by Tom Hennen

FRIDAY 10/16

Today's Reading: "What the Plants Say" by Tom Hennen from CRAWLING OUT THE WINDOW, published by Black Hat Press.

The NORTH CAROLINA STATE FAIR opens up today and runs through the 25th. And several fall harvest festivals start: The CRANBERRY WEEKEND on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.

It was on this day in 1978 that the college of cardinals elected KAROL CARDINAL WOJTYLA, from Poland, the first non-Italian Pope since 1523. Pope John Paul is the longest-serving pope chosen this century, and one of only 12 in the history of the Church with a papacy lasting at least two decades. He's scheduled to travel to Mexico and St. Louis in January next year.

It's the birthday of KATHLEEN WINSOR, 1919, Olivia, Minnesota, who moved out to California and got a job as a receptionist for the Oakland Tribune, and wrote one famous book, Forever Amber, the story of the 17th-century beauty Amber St. Claire and her lovers. It came out in 1944 when Winsor was just 25 years old and its steamier passages caused a national scandal: Boston libraries banned it as obscene and offensive, which, of course, helped sales: within a month it'd gone into its second printing, and a year later its 12th, and movie rights fetched a higher price than even those for Gone with the Wind.

It's playwright EUGENE O'NEILL's birthday, in 1888, born in a New York hotel room on Broadway, and whose plays Beyond the Horizon, Anna Christie, Strange Interlude, and Long Day's Journey into Night won O'Neill four Pulitzer Prizes. He also wrote The Iceman Cometh, and A Moon for the Misbegotten. He worked for years as a sailor, collecting what he called "life experiences" onboard ships, and ashore in South America and Europe. When he settled down around 1920, he made a name for himself as a prolific playwright: between 1920 and 1943 he completed 20 long plays — several of them double and triple length.

It's the anniversary of JOHN BROWN's 1859 raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia, where he and 22 men seized the Wagner House Hotel, the federal arsenal, the town firehouse, and about 30 citizens. Brown was 60 years old and a white man; his aim: to free the slaves and create an independent Negro republic. The whole thing was a disaster. Two days later a squad of Marines under Robert E. Lee battered down the firehouse door and captured Brown and his men, six of whom, including Brown, were hanged a few weeks later.

The first operation with the patient under ANESTHESIA was performed on this day in Boston, 1846. It took place at Massachusetts General Hospital, the ether administered by Dr. William Morton, a dentist, while surgeon Dr. John Warren removed a tumor from a young man's jaw.

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




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