Jun. 29, 2000
Visiting My Mother's College
Poem: "Visiting My Motherís College" by Sharon Olds, from The Wellspring (Alfred A. Knopf).
Today is the feast of Saints Peter and Paulcelebrated by Christians since the year 354.
Itís the birthday of one of the 19th centuryís great writers, poet and scholar Giacomo Leopardi, born in Recanati, Italy (1798).
Itís the birthday of engineer George Washington Goethals, born in Brooklyn, New York (1858). In 1907 Goethals was appointed chief engineer of the Panama Canal by President Teddy Roosevelt. Seven years later the Canal was opened to commerce.
Itís the birthday of surgeon William (James) Mayo, born in Le Sueur, Minnesota (1861) a co-founder of the Mayo Clinic and the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, in Rochester, Minnesota.
Itís the birthday of aviator and novelist Antoine de Saint-Exupťry, born in Lyons, France (1900). He was a commercial pilot in the 1920s, and flew for the French Air Force in World War Two. He is best known to American readers for his childrenís fable The Little Prince (1943), narrated by a pilot who has crashed in the desert and who, while trying to fix his plane before his food and water run out, meets a small boy who has traveled to earth from his own tiny planet.
Itís the birthday of historian John Toland, born in La Crosse, Wisconsin (1912) who won a Pulitzer Prize for The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945 (1970).
Itís the birthday of short story writer Breece Dexter Pancake, born in Kanawha County, West Virginia (1952). He wrote stories set in Appalachia, about characters doomed to emptiness and isolation. In 1979, he shot himself to death. The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake appeared 4 years later (1983), and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®