Sunday

Dec. 5, 1999

Of the Stones of the Place

by Robert Frost

Broadcast Date: SUNDAY: December 5, 1999

Poem: "Of the Stones of the Place" by Robert Frost from The Poetry of Robert Frost published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

It's Walt Disneyís birthday, born in Chicago, 1901, creator of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and a cast of other cartoon characters.

On this day in 1932, German mathematician and physicist, Albert Einstein was granted, for the first time, a travel visa, which allowed him to come to the United States.

On this day in 1933, drinkers everywhere raised their glasses to toast the end of Prohibition in the United States. Fourteen years had passed since the last legal drink in America: The Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which had prohibited all liquor, was finally repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment, ratified at 5:32 p.m., 66 years ago.

It's the birthday of novelist and essayist Joan Didion, born in Sacramento, California, 1934. Didion is the author of Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968), Play It as It Lays (1970), and Salvador (1983).

Itís the birthday of American author and journalist, Calvin (Marshall) Trillin, born in Kansas City Missouri in 1935. Trillin attended Yale and in 1963 became a staff writer for the New Yorker. Trillinís wife, children, and parents are often the subject of his lighthearted reflections. His books, such as Travels with Alice (a sort of travel journal of a European tour taken with his wife), and Family Man (a celebration of Trillinís life as a son, father, and husband), are hysterical and touching accounts of the world as Trillin sees it. His father, Abe, ran a restaurant, and often wrote humorous aphorisms for the menu: "Donít sigh, Eat Pie." When asked what his late father would have wanted for him in this life, Trillin responded with the following: "He thought any American boy could grow up to be president so there was some presidential pressure. His fall-back position was that I not be a ward of the county." Calvin Trillin continues to write his columns and books out of New York City, and is wildly popular with the American public.

On this day in 1791, Austrian composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, died in Vienna at the age of 35. Following an unproductive and turbulent year in 1790, Mozart had sunk into a severe depression, interrupted by short periods of wildly manic and creative behavior. The last year of Mozartís life is often the subject of much rumination; while he suffered anxiety about his finances and his less than popular concerts, it is believed Mozart was suffering at this time from a severe emotional illness known today as cyclothymic disorder. Mozart first became physically ill during a trip to Prague in 1787; he suffered unexplainable fevers, chills, and arthritis-like pains. From this point on his health did not seem to improve, though he worked steadily during this period. A month before he died, however, Mozart had become so ill, he was confined to bed and worked there on a commissioned requiem mass for the wife of Count Von Walsegg-Stuppach. Speculation about Mozartís illness abounds — the official cause of death in 1791 was listed as severe miliary fever, but was later changed to rheumatic inflammatory fever. Other diagnosis since his death have been Schoenlein-Henoch syndrome, and even suspected poisoning by his fellow composer and archrival Antonio Salieri. Mozart was buried in a common grave in Vienna, and his requiem composition completed later by Joseph Eybler and the composer Suessmayr.

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