May 8, 1997

The Last Birthday at Home

by Sharon Olds


Today's Reading:"The Last Birthday at Home" by Sharon Olds from THE WELLSPRING, published by Alfred A. Knopf.

Today is Ascension Day on the Christian calendar, commemorating Christ's ascension into heaven.

The Holland Tulip Time Festival begins today in Holland Michigan.

Today is V-E Day, Victory in Europe Day, commemorating the day in 1945 when the European phase of World War II officially ended.

It's the birthday of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley (CRIMES OF THE HEART; THE MISS FIRECRACKER CONTEST), born in Jackson, Mississippi, 1952.

The World War II Battle of the Coral Sea ended on this day in 1942, the US Naval operation that prevented the Japanese from landing in southeast New Guinea and thus causing a threat to Australia.

It's the birthday of novelist Peter Benchley (JAWS; THE DEEP), born in New York City, in 1940.

Novelist Thomas Pynchon (THE CRYING OF LOT 49; GRAVITY'S RAINBOW) was born on this day in Glen Cove, New York, in 1937.

It's the birthday of Beat poet Gary Snyder who, with Allen Ginsburg and Jack Kerouac, helped launch the Beat movement with a poetry reading at San Francisco's Six Gallery in 1953. He was born in San Francisco in 1930.

It's the birthday of jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams, in Atlanta, 1910. During the swing era she wrote many tunes for Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington.

Film director Roberto Rossellini, a leader of the Italian neo-realist film movement after World War II and maker of STROMBOLI (1949) and THE LONELY WOMAN (1953) with Ingrid Bergman, was born on this day in Rome in 1906.

It's the birthday of the great American man of letters, Edmund Wilson, editor of F. Scott Fitzgerald's autobiographical memoir THE CRACK-UP. He was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, in 1895.

The 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, was born on this day in Lamar, Missouri, in 1884.

It's the birthday of the first American pianist to achieve international recognition, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, born in New Orleans in 1829.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
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