Nov. 27, 2000
St. Clement's Day
Poem: ďSt. Clementís Day,Ē Anonymous.
Clementsing, clementsing, apples and pears,
One for Peter, two for Paul, three for Him that made us all!
Up with your stockings and down with your shoes,
If you haven't got apples, money will do.
Put your hand in your pocket and fetch out your keys,
Go down in the cellar and fetch out what you please,
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,
A bottle of wine to make us all merry.
The roads are so dirty, our boots are so thin,
Our pockets are empty and got nothing in.
Itís the birthday of journalist Gail
Sheehy, born in Mamaroneck, New York (1937). Just before her 40th
birthday, she published her fifth and most famous book, Passages: Predictable
Crises of Adult Life. The book was a number-one bestseller in 1977, and
in 1991, it came in ninth in a Library of Congress survey of the most influential
books in peopleís lives.
"It is a paradox that as we reach our prime, we also see there is a place where it finishes."
Itís the birthday of theater producer David
Merrick, born David Margulies in St. Louis, Missouri (1911).
"Iíll tell you whatís like to be Number One. I compare it to climbing Mt. Everest. Itís very difficult. Lives are lost along the way. You struggle and struggle and finally you get up there. And guess what there is once you get up there? Snow and ice."
Itís the birthday of writer James Agee, born in Knoxville, Kentucky (1909). He was 16 when his father was killed in a car accident, and as an adult he worked for nearly two decades, on and off, on a manuscript that tried to recreate, as he put it, ďmy childhood and my father, exactly as I can remember and represent them.Ē He never finished it; but after he died it was published as the novel A Death in the Family, and won the Pulitzer Prize (1957). Heís also the author of the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), generally considered to be a masterpiece. He was an obsessive person, an insatiable talker, addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, and Benzedrine. He died of a heart attack in a New York cab in 1955, with no will, no insurance, and $450 in the bank.
Itís the birthday of writer and actress Fanny Kemble, born in London (1809). She was one of the most famous actresses of the American stage: Whitman mentions her in Leaves of Grass. She owned property that later became the site of Tanglewood in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. There, according to one historian, ďShe fished, she wore loose trousers, she rode alone, didnít water her punch and so got all the Ďbestí inhabitants quite drunk at tea one day, as she read unexpurgated versions of Shakespeare.Ē
Itís the birthday of statesman and amateur scientist Robert Livingston, born in New York City (1746). He became one of the twelve New York delegates to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, and served on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson appointed him ambassador to France, where with the help of James Monroe he negotiated the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. He also experimented with steam power, and entered into a partnership with Robert Fulton: the first successful steamboat voyage, up the Hudson from New York to Albany, was made in 1807 by Fultonís boat, the Clermont.
Itís the birthday of astronomer Anders Celsius, born in Uppsala, Sweden (1701). He took part in two expeditions that verified Newtonís theory that the earth is slightly flattened at its poles. He oversaw the construction of the first modern observatory in Sweden, but despite his contributions to astronomy, he is best known today as the inventor of the Celsius, or centigrade, thermometer.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®