Jun. 2, 1999
Hillary in Her Glory
Lullaby for a Daughter, and Hillary in Her Glory
Poems: "Lullaby for a Daughter" and "Hillary in Her Glory," by Mary Jo Salter, from Sunday Skaters (Alfred A. Knopf, 1994).
ELIZABETH II, 27 years old, was crowned in Westminster Abbey, London, 1953, on this day, and claimed her full title: "By The Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith." They chose June 2 for the coronation because forecasters said it of all days was the least likely to rain. It poured. More than a million people got soaked jamming the streets and balconies of London to glimpse the golden coach that carried her and Prince Philip to Buckingham Palace.
It's the birthday in Oak Park, Illinois, 1935, of CAROL SHIELDS, author of The Stone Diaries in 1993 which won her the Pulitzer Prize, as well as The Republic of Love (1992), and Happenstance (1988).
NATIVE AMERICANS WERE GRANTED FULL CITIZENSHIP on this day in 1924. Congress passed a bill which said simply, "All non-citizen Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States."
It's the birthday of BARBARA PYM, Shropshire, England, 1913, author of comic novels about the kind of upper-middle-class British who live in North Oxford, of whom she wrote, "There are no sick people there. They are either dead or alive. It's sometimes difficult to tell the difference, that's all." Her books include Excellent Woman (1952), and A Glass of Blessings (1958).
GUGLIELMO MARCONI took out a patent in London on this day in 1896 for his new invention, the radio. At that point he'd been able to transmit and receive a signal a distance of about 12 miles.
It's the birthday of writer THOMAS HARDY in Dorset, England, 1840. Though he wrote both novels and poetry, Hardy always considered himself first a poet; novels were just a way to pay the rent. But the books, with their gloomy settings and unhappy endings, made him a famous man. Most of them are set in the imaginary county of southwestern England, "Wessex," like The Return of the Native, The Mayor of Casterbridge, and Tess of the D'Urbervilles. His last book was Jude the Obscure, published in 1895, the story of two people who leave their spouses, live together and have children. The Bishop of Wakefield threw the book in the fire, and was able to get some of Britain's booksellers to pull it from their shelves. Hardy was so disgusted by this that he stopped novel-writing and only wrote poems for the rest of his life.
It's the birthday of MARTHA CUSTIS WASHINGTON, in New Kent County, Virginia, 1731, who was married as a teenager, had four children, and was widowed when she was 26 years old. She came into a huge estate, a fact most historians say was not lost on the young plantation owner George Washington, who courted her in the summer and fall of 1758 and married her the following January. She didn't care much for all the social demands of being First Lady, but she said, "The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go."
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