Nov. 17, 1998

New Hampshire

by Howard Moss


Poem: "New Hampshire," by Howard Moss, in NEW SELECTED POEMS (Atheneum, 1985).

It's MARTIN SCORSESE's birthday, born on Long Island, 1942, director of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ and his latest film, which came out last year, Kundun, the story of the 14th Dalai Lama.

It's author and historian SHELBY FOOTE's birthday, born in Greenville, Mississippi, 1916, best known for the three-volume set The Civil War: A Narrative.

It's the birthday of GRACE ABBOTT, the child welfare worker active in the early years of this century, born in 1878, Grand Island, a grain-milling town in southeast Nebraska. She spent most of her career in Chicago, trying to get better working and living conditions for the immigrants who were pouring into the city. In the early 1920s she moved to Washington and worked to enact laws combating infant diseases and mortality; and she opened more than 3,000 prenatal and pediatric clinics around the country.

It's the anniversary of THE SUEZ CANAL, opened in 1869. The canal runs north-south for 100 miles along the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt and separates Africa from Asia; and it allows ships to sail directly between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, rather than go around Africa by the Cape of Good Hope.

It was on this day in 1734, that JOHN PETER ZENGER was arrested in New York for libel. Zenger was a colonial printer and journalist who founded the New York Weekly Journal, and the New York governor felt he'd been libeled by some of Zenger's pieces in the Journal. A jury acquitted him, and the decision was one of the first steps toward freedom of the press in the country.

It was on this day in 1637 that ANNE HUTCHINSON and her family were banished from the Massachusetts Bay colony. Hutchinson was a 46-year-old woman, the mother of 14 children, who'd immigrated from England with her husband and family three years earlier. She set up a weekly meeting in her house for women to come and discuss the sermons they'd heard that week. She was a free thinker and believed that the Spirit of God resided in each person and one didn't need the Bible to discern what God had in mind for them — which got her into trouble with the colony's Puritan authorities. She and her family were banished, and they moved to Rhode Island and founded another colony, but six years later nearly all of them were killed in an Indian massacre.

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




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