Oct. 30, 1998

Anna at 18 Months

by Linda Pastan

FRIDAY 10/30

Today's Reading: "Anna at 18 Months" by Linda Pastan from CARNIVAL EVENING, published by W.W. Norton & Company (1998).

It's the anniversary of the 1938 Halloween Orson Welles' broadcast of WAR OF THE WORLDS. It was a one-hour adaptation of H.G. Wells' novel, featuring the Mercury Theater Players broadcasting over CBS. Four times during the hour an announcer came on and said that this was just fiction, but about one million of the six million estimated listeners either didn't hear the disclaimer or didn't believe it. People fled to their basements, traffic got snarled, communications across the country jammed as listeners thought New Jersey was being invaded by murderous Martians.

It's the birthday of poet EZRA POUND, 1885, born in the little mining town of Hailey, in south-central Idaho. He spent most of his life in Europe, sailing to London in 1908 as a deck hand on a cattle boat. He lived in London till 1921, then Paris, and later Italy, and in each place he became the center of the literary community and the champion of other writers including William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, James Joyce; and Ernest Hemingway.

It's the birthday of ADMIRAL WILLIAM "BULL" FREDERICK HALSEY, born in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1882, who led most of the key Pacific naval battles of WWII. Early in the war Halsey shocked the Japanese by launching attacks on Tokyo with his aircraft carriers just a few hundred miles off Japan's coast. In October, 1942 he was named commander of the entire South Pacific and led the defeat of Japan at Guadalcanal; then two years later his ships sank most of the Japanese navy in the decisive battle of Leyte Gulf.

It's the birthday of IRMA S. ROMBAUER: author of The Joy of Cooking, born in 1877, St. Louis. The Joy of Cooking is the all-time best-selling cookbook.

Jane Austen's novel SENSE AND SENSIBILITY was published in England on this day in 1811, the story of two sisters, Marianne and Elinor Dashwood. Austen wrote: "Elinor possessed a strength of understanding and coolness of judgment, which qualified her, though only nineteen, to be the counselor of her mother… Marianne's abilities were, in many respects, quite equal to Elinor's. She was sensible and clever; but eager in everything: her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation. She was generous, amiable, interesting: she was everything but prudent." The book tells the story of the impetuous Marianne, infatuated with the unscrupulous John Willoughby; and Elinor who after many problems marries the love of her life, Edward Ferrars.

The term QUAKERS was used for the first time on this day in 1650, when George Fox, the founder of the faith, told a British judge that he "should quake and tremble at the word of God."

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




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