Jan. 14, 1999

Teen Lovers

by Judi Neri


Poem: Judy Neri, "Teen Lovers," published in The Formalist (Fall/Winter 1998).

It's the birthday in 1896, Chicago, of novelist JOHN DOS PASSOS, author of the trilogy U.S.A., which he described as being about "two nations" — one for the rich and privileged, and one for the poor and powerless. The three books are The 42nd Parallel (1930); 1919 (1932); and The Big Money (1936), covering the period from 1900 into the Great Depression of the '30s.

It's the birthday of HUGH LOFTING, 1886, born in Berkshire, England, the author of the Dr. Dolittle children's books. The Dolittle books actually began as a series of letters to his children when he was fighting in WWI, which he then turned into books — about one a year from 1920 to 1927.

It's ALBERT SCHWEITZER's birthday, born in 1875 in a village in Alsace, France. In 1904 he happened across an article in the Paris Missionary Society's paper calling for physicians in the French colony of Gabon. It took Schweitzer eight years to get a medical degree with a specialty in surgery and tropical diseases, and in 1913, he and his wife settled in the French Congo, now the Gabonese Republic, and began their practice in a chicken coop, gradually adding new buildings. The hospital now treats thousands of patients. He won the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work.

It's the anniversary of the FIRST SUCCESSFUL CESAREAN SECTION, performed by Dr. Jesse Bennett of Edom, Virginia, 1794. The patient was his wife. Throughout most of the 19th century, 75 percent of Cesarean deliveries ended with the death of the mother, either through blood loss or infection.

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