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Stillwater, MN 6-30
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For My Daughter on Her First Birthday
by Julie Danho
You were late,
but ordinary. Average
height, average weight,
When they laid you
on my chest,
you were a frog queen
come up for air,
your legs splayed
as if ready to leap.
From salt water
I formed you
as I was formed,
as your father was
by his mother,
with limbs beginning
as paddles, lungs filling
with fluid. Repetition
should dull wonder,
but you emerged
like a continent
breaking off from Pangaea,
and I held you close,
knowing the ocean
would have its way.
“For My Daughter on Her First Birthday” by Julie Danho from Those Who Keep Arriving. Silverfish Review Books © 2020. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of comics writer Hergé (books by this author), born Georges Prosper Remi in Brussels, Belgium (1907). He created a beloved comic strip about a boy whose life is full of adventure: The Adventures of Tintin. Tintin is a Belgian reporter who is accompanied by his fox terrier Snowy (“Milou” in French.) The two go everywhere — Soviet Russia, Palestine, Tibet, and even the moon. Hergé wrote 23 Tintin comic books. He published the first when he was just 22 years old, and he was working on a 24th book when he died in 1986 at the age of 83. The books have sold around 350 million copies.
It’s the birthday of writer Arthur Conan Doyle (books by this author), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (1859). He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and there he met Joseph Bell, his favorite professor. Bell taught his students how to make a successful diagnosis through observation and deduction.
After graduating, Doyle opened his own practice and wrote fiction in his spare time. In 1887, he published A Study in Scarlet, a mystery featuring a character based on his old professor: the detective Sherlock Holmes. He ended up writing 56 short stories and four novels with the famous detective, including The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902).
Doyle said, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
And Sherlock Holmes said to his sidekick, Dr. Watson, “You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”
On this day in 1906, the Orville and Wilbur Wright were granted a patent for the “flying machine.” The brothers first flew a heavier-than-air flight craft in 1903 and spent the next several years improving their design. The opening of the 1906 patent reads, “Be it known that we, ORVILLE WRIGHT and WILBUR WRIGHT, citizens of the United States, residing in the city of Dayton, county of Montgomery, and State of Ohio, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Flying-Machines.”
On this date, the Great Train Robbery took place in Marshfield, Indiana (1868). The newspaper report the following day noted: “The car of the Adams Express Company was robbed last night on the Jeffersonville Railroad, at Marshfield, Indiana, twenty miles below Seymour. A party of robbers supposed to be the notorious Reno brothers, held up the train and made a clean sweep of the express company’s safes, said to contain in the neighborhood of a hundred thousand dollars.”
It is the birthday of the first openly gay man elected to public office. Harvey Milk was born in Woodmere, New York (1930).
He moved to San Francisco in 1969 and fell in love with the city. Milk ran for city supervisor in the 1973 election. He was a hippie with no money and no political experience, and he lost the election. Undeterred, Milk built coalitions with organized labor and ran again for city supervisor in 1975. This time he decided to cut his long hair, to wear suits, and to give up his support to legalize marijuana. Milk lost again, but this time the election was much closer.
But Milk had found his passion in politics and he ran for city supervisor again in 1977. He campaigned on civil rights issues, and he also advocated for less expensive child care facilities, free public transportation, and the creation of a civilian board to oversee the police. He won by 30 percent and his election as the first openly gay man elected to public office made national headlines.
One of the other supervisors sworn in that day with Milk was Daniel White, a former police officer and firefighter. But after 10 months of service, White resigned saying that the $9,600 per year wasn’t enough to support his family. But then a few days later, he changed his mind and asked to be reinstated. The mayor originally agreed but then changed his mind, choosing to appoint someone who better represented the area’s growing diversity.
So on November 27, 1978, just before the press conference announcing his replacement, White snuck into City Hall through a basement window, walked to the mayor’s office and shot and killed him. He then ran into Milk in the hallway, asked to see him privately for a moment, and then shot him five times including twice in the head at close range. Senator Diane Feinstein heard the shots and was the one who identified the bodies.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®