Sep. 27, 2000
It's the birthday of writer Joyce Johnson, born Joyce Glassman in New York City (1935). She ran away to Greenwich Village when she was still a teenager, and got to know people at the center of the emerging Beat Generation. Her troubled, two-year affair with Jack Kerouac is recounted in her memoir, Minor Characters, A Young Woman's Coming of Age in the Beat Orbit of Jack Kerouac (1999) which won a National Book Critics Circle Award. She recently published Doors Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters 1957-1958, the letters she and Kerouac exchanged during their relationship.
It's the birthday of the jazz pianist and composer Bud (Earl) Powell, born into a musical family in New York City (1924). He dropped out of school at fifteen and began playing music professionally, making his recording debut at twenty. He was one of the preeminent bebop musicians -- the keyboard counterpart of saxophonist Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. He died at age forty-three -- a death hastened by both tuberculosis and alcoholism. His recording sessions for the Blue Note label in 1949 and 1951 are considered legendary.
It's the birthday of the British physiologist and medical researcher Robert (Geoffrey) Edwards, born in Witney, Oxfordshire, England (1925). With his colleague Patrick Steptoe at the Centre for Human Reproduction in Oldham, England, he perfected a technique for the in vitro fertilization of the human egg, making possible the birth of Louise Brown, the world's first "test-tube baby," in 1978.
It's the birthday of writer and attorney Louis (Stanton) Auchincloss, born in Lawrence, Long Island, New York (1917). He went to law school, took a position in a Wall Street firm, then wrote his first novel, The Indifferent Children (1947). While continuing to practice law, he has produced a number of novels set in the upper strata of New York society, including A Law for the Lion (1952), The House of Five Talents (1960), and The Embezzler (1966). His most recent work is Her Infinite Variety, published last month.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®