Jul. 13, 1999

Where She Told Her Love

by John Clare

Broadcast Date: TUESDAY: July 13, 1999

Poem: "Where She Told Her Love" by John Clare.

It's the birthday of toy inventor Erno Rubik, born in the air raid shelter of a Budapest hospital (1944). The cube consisted of 26 variously colored smaller cubes: 3 rows of 3 on each of the larger cube's 6 sides. Of 43 quintillion possible combinations, there is only one setting that makes all six sides the same color. In the mid-1980s it was wildly popular, and at one point 3 books were on the New York Times best seller list, informing cube-manipulators how to solve the puzzle.

In 1939 on this day, Frank Sinatra made his first record, with the Harry James Band: "From the Bottom of My Heart." James had heard him at a club in Teaneck, New Jersey—where Sinatra was headwaiter and sang for $15 a week—and signed him to a $75-a-week contract. When their record came out, Tommy Dorsey heard it on his car radio and lured Sinatra away from James for $250 a week.

It's the birthday of writer Wole Soyinka, born in Abeokuta, Nigeria (1934)—the first black African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (1986).

It's the birthday of novelist and playwright David (Malcolm) Storey, born in Wakefield, Yorkshire (1933), author of This Sporting Life (1960) and Saville (1976).

Today is the birthday of art historian Sir Kenneth Clark (1903).

In 1798 on this day, poet William Wordsworth, on a walking tour of the Wye Valley, visited the ruins of Tintern Abbey. It is there that he wrote his poem, which you may have been forced to study in high school.

It's the birthday of poet John Clare, born in Helpston, Northamptonshire (1793). He grew up poor and was rejected by the daughter of a prosperous local farmer. When he did finally marry, he supported 7 children. The combination of poverty and alcoholism took a toll on him; he spent his last 23 years in an asylum, where he wrote some of his best poems.

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