Nov. 25, 1998


by John Updike


Poem: "Relatives," by John Updike, from COLLECTED POEMS 1953-1993 (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993).

It's the FEAST DAY OF ST. CATHERINE. She was born into a royal family around the year 310 A.D. in Alexandria, and as a young woman underwent a religious conversion.

It's LEWIS THOMAS' birthday, Flushing, New York, 1913, the physician and writer, best known for his first book, the 1974 essay collection, The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher.

It's the birthday of the composer and music critic VIRGIL THOMSON, born in Kansas City, Missouri, 1896, who wrote the operas Four Saints in Three Acts, and The Mother of Us All, and — a rare thing — he won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for a film score, music to go along with the movie Louisiana Story.

It's the birthday in Bristol, England, 1890, of the World War I poet ISAAC ROSENBERG, who wrote mostly love poems before the war began, but became best known for the war poems he wrote while in the trenches. He was killed in battle just a few months before the war ended.

It's the birthday of the Norwegian writer OSKAR BRAATEN, born in Oslo 1881, and author of several popular plays in Norway, like The Big Baptism (1925), and novels, The Wolf's Lair, and Matilde; his writing is mostly about growing up poor in the tenement houses on Oslo's east side.

It's the birthday of CARRY NATION, the temperance leader, born in 1846, Garrard County, Kentucky. Her first husband was an incurable alcoholic, and she began a personal crusade against liquor—entering whiskey joints and wrecking them with a hatchet.

It's the birthday of KARL BENZ, the engineer who made the world's first car, born in 1844, Baden, Germany. His car was actually a three-wheeler, and he put it on the road for the first time in 1885. Eight years later his company came out with a four-wheeled car, and only six years after that introduced a line of race cars.

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




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