Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Happy birthday Phil, and what a history it's been
Had my mother, born Philomena Augustina Carryl, lived until today, her birthday, she would be 80 years old. (She always told us she was ten years younger than she was, because she looked young enough to get away with it...) [Photo at left: my mother graduating from NYU, sometime in the 1950s. Photo courtesy my godmother]

And what a different world she would have lived to see.

Calvin Coolidge was the U.S. president when my mother was born in Georgetown, British Guyana; and his successor, Herbert Hoover, was sworn in about a month after her birth, on March 4th ... Iran was still called Persia ... the U.S. Immigration law of 1924 (also known as the Asian Exclusion Act) was still restricting the number of Asians and Eastern Europeans who could come into the country ... Lou Gehrig was playing for the Yankees ... there had been 55 Kentucky Derbies, 33 Boston marathons and 64 British Golf Opens ... Palestinians and Jews were fighting in Jerusalem ... the Afghan government was being overthrown ... the Indian National Congress was spoiling for India's independence from Great Britain ... Bessie Smith recorded "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" ... the Harlem Renaissance was still going strong ... and a loaf of bread cost just 9 cents. The Great Depression began, and my mother's generation would live through that, and war, and Cold War, and the birth of the television age, and the assassination of one president and the resignation of another.

My mother died in 1986, so she missed out on Monicagate, Disastrous Dubya, and of course, Barack Obama. But she was born in an era of tremendous change.

More 1929 trivia, from BrainyHistory.com:
  • The U.S. and Canada agreed to preserve Niagara Falls (January 2nd)
  • William Paley became president of CBS at 27 years old (January 3rd)
  • Buck Rogers, the first sci-fi comic strip, and "Tarzan," one of the 1st adventure comic strips, both debut (January 7th)
  • Gun slinger Wyatt Earp died (January 13)
  • Popeye debuts in the comic strip "Thimble Theater" (January 17.)
  • "NY Daily Mirror" columnist Walter Winchell made his radio debut (January 18)
  • Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin proposed that Leo Trotsky be banned from the Politburo (January 18 ... Trotsky was expelled from the entire country, to Turkey, on January 31st)
  • On my mother's birthday, February 11, Eugene O'Neill's play, "Dynamo," made its debut in New York City, and Vatican City, the world's smallest country, was made an official enclave of Rome. Vatican City became a sovereign state June 7th.
  • Three days later, on February 14, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre took place in Chicago, leaving 7 mobsters dead.
  • American Samoa became a territory (February 20)
  • General Motors bought German auto manufacturer Adam Opel in March, which is interesting to me only because I briefly owned a Buick Opel in the early 1990s. Worst car I've ever had. It was a lemon from day one.
  • The 1st telephone was installed in the White House (March 23)
  • Louie Marx introduces Yo-Yo on April 1
  • New York Yankees become 1st team to wear uniform numbers (April 16)
  • The first regularly scheduled TV broadcasts begin 3 nights per week, for the few who can afford the sets (May 11)
  • The first Academy Awards take place, with "Wings," Emil Jennings and Janet Gaynor winning statuettes (May 16)
  • General Feng Yu-Xiang of China declared war on Chiang Kai-Shek government (May 19)
  • The New York Stock Exchange became the country's largest financial exchange, surpassing the New York Exchange in June, shortly after they installed an electronic stock quotation board (May 21)
  • The first all color talking picture, "On With the Show," was exhibited in New York City (May 28);
  • George Eastman demonstrated the first technicolor movie in Rochester New York (June 4)
  • The first color television set was demonstrated in New York City (June 27)
  • U.S. cartoonist Elzie Segar created "Popeye" (July 1)
  • U.S. currency shrunk to its current, smaller size (July 10)
  • Jones Beach in New York opens (August 4)
  • German airship Graf Zeppelin begins a round-the-world flight (August 8)
  • Babe Ruth becomes the first baseball player to hit 500 home runs. He hit number 500 off pitcher Willis Hudlin of Cleveland (August 11)
  • The Dow Jones peaked at a record 381.17 (September 3)
  • The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes changed its name to Yugoslavia (October 3)
  • The stock market crash begins with "Black Thursday," as the Dow Jones plummets 12.8% (October 24)
  • Former Interior Sec Albert Fall convicted of accepting $100,000 bribe (October 25)
  • Wall Street suffers a second shock on Black Tuesday, as a 13% (38.33 point) drop in the Stock Market at the previous closing bell triggers the Great Depression (October 29)
  • In perhaps the worst case of bad timing ever, the Museum of Modern Art opens in New York City on November 7...
  • Salvador Dali has his first one-man show November 20)
  • Lt Cmdr Richard E Byrd sends "My calculations indicate that we have reached vicinity of South Pole" on November 29. (He was wrong)
  • The game BINGO was invented by Edwin S Lowe (December 1)
  • The first skull of a "Peking man" was found, 50 km outside Peking, China at Tsjoe Koe Tien (December 2)
  • The first known U.S. nudist organization, the American League for Physical Culture, was founded in New York City (December 5)
  • Turkish women got the right to vote (December 6)
... and the notion of a black president of the United States was, in 1929, totally unthinkable, to the point of being ridiculous.

Other people born in 1929:

Fats Domino, Anne Frank, Arnold Palmer, G. Gordon "Felon" Liddy, Burt Bacharach, Bob Newhart, Imelda Marcos, Martin Luther King Jr., William Safire, Christopher Plummer, Yasser Arafat.

BTW February 11 is also the 19th anniversary of the day Nelson Mandela was released by South African authorities after spending 27 years in prison (1990). Happy anniversary, Mr. Mandela, and happy birthday, mom.


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