Thursday, 6 April 2017

A Bit of History, Family and My New Subject (The Birthday Thing)

A few days ago, I posted about my father receiving an award from the French government for his service during WWII. I had provided a link to an article in the local North Bay newspaper, that being The North Bay Nugget. Yesterday, I received a copy of the article from my sister, Christine, and I wanted to show it here. Thank you, Chris. :)

Great Historical Events (Moving on to the 1550's to 1600; Excerpts from Treasures of Use and Beauty) -

"1553. The entire Indian population in Cuba become extinct through the cruelty of the Spaniards.
1554. The mines of Santa Barbara and San Juan discovered.
" Havana again destroyed by the French. (Ed note. I'm getting an impression that the French did not like Havana.)
1563. Negro slavery first introduced into the West Indies.
1576. June - Martin Frobisher sailed from England with two small vessels.
1577 - 80. Sir Francis Drake sailed along the coast of California, taking formal possession in the name of the Queen of England; thinking to find a northern passage back into the Atlantic, he sailed north till he reached the region of eternal cold but found no gap in the ice-bound coast. Fearing to meet the Spaniard cruisers he sailed westward, and reached England after circumnavigating the globe. He accomplished his purpose and reached England in 1580, after an absence of nearly three years. This was regarded as an immense achievement. (Ed note. Typical English understatement)
1578. Frobisher sailed for a third voyage to Labrador, with a fleet of 15 vessels.
Sir Humphrey Gilbert obtains a patent from Queen Elizabeth to discover and appropriate all lands unoccupied by Christian powers in North America in the name of the Crown of England.
1583. Gilbert attempts the settlement of Newfoundland, establishes the cod-fisheries, from which England has derived more profit than she would if the island had been filled with gold mines.
1584. The territory from Canada to Florida granted by Queen Elizabeth to Sir Walter Raleigh.
1585. Richard Granville with 7 vessels and 108 men land at Roanoke.
1587. Davis's Straits discovered by John Davis, an Englishman. (Ed note. Odd that he discovered straits that bore his name, eh? OK, ok, just kidding)
Tobacco first introduced into England by Mr. Lane. (Ed. note. You've got a lot to answer for, Mr.Lane!)
1587. Virginia Dare, the first child borne of English parentage in North America.
1598. Attempts made to colonize Nova Scotia. Some authors declare that it was attempted as early as 1515. (Ed. note. Some authors that they are still trying to do so.)

(Next post we start the 1600's. Things are starting to pick up.)

Miscellaneous Letters from Eminent Persons

The letter which follows is from Scottish poet Robert Burns to Miss Ellison Begbie. Ellison Begbie is said to have been the daughter of a tenant farmer. She met Burns in 1781 near Lochlea Farm. She rejected him and it's surmised that it may have been the cause of a depressive illness that he suffered.

"Lochlea, 1783.

I verily believe, my dear E., that the pure genuine feelings of love are as rare in the world as the pure genuine principles of virtue and piety. This, I hope, will account for the uncommon style of all my letters to you.

I don't know how it is, my dear, for though, except your company, there is nothing on earth gives me so much pleasure as writing to you, yet it never gives me those giddy raptures so much talked of among lovers.

The sordid earth-worm may profess love to a woman's person, whilst in reality his affection is centered in her pocket; and the slavish drudge may go a-wooing as he goes to the horse-market, to choose one who is stout and firm, and as we may say of an old horse, one who will be a good drudge and draw kindly. I disdain their dirty, puny ideas. I would be heartily out of humor with myself, if I thought I were capable of having so poor a notion of the sex, which was designed to crown the pleasures of society.


The Birthday Thing - 1956

You can see that I haven't been able to come up with a suitable name for my new idea. I'll have to explain again. Basically the idea is to post the Number 1 songs (UK and US) that took place on my birthday, from Nov 10, 1955 - the present. As well, the NY Times Fiction Best Seller at the time and other miscellaneous items for the particular year. Yesterday was 1955, so we move on to 1956 today. (Does the Birthday Thing explain it sufficiently?)

Billboard US Number 1 for the week of 10 Nov 1956.

Love Me Tender by Elvis Presley. My sister will love this for, as I recall, she had all sorts of Elvis's 45's when I was growing up. (Click on the song title to see the official 1956 video). Presley lived from 1935 - 1977. Love Me Tender was one of 5 US #1's that he had in 1956. The lyrics were attributed to Ken Darby (uncredited) and to Presley and Vera Matson.

UK Singles Chart.
A Woman in Love by Frankie Laine. Laine was an American singer, song-writer and actor, who lived from 1913 - 2007. The song was written by Frank Loesser and used in MGM's movie adaptation of Guys and Dolls. The Four Aces had great success with it in the US. Laine's version was Number 1 on the UK charts for 4 weeks.

New York Times Fiction Best-Sellers List

Don't Go Near the Water by William Brinkley. Brinkley lived from 1917 - 1993. The book was turned into a movie in 1957. The book was a parody of aspects of the US Navy, especially Brinkley's branch, Navy Public Relations. The movie starred Glenn Ford, Earl Holliman, Ann Francis, Russ Tamblyn, etc.

(Honourable mention from 1956 is one of my favourite books, Peyton Place by Grace Metallious, which was also Number 1 on the Times list for a period.)

Pulitzer Prize Winner - 1956

Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor. This is a book I've never read, but it does sound interesting. It is a novel concerning the Confederate prisoner of war camp, Andersonville, during the US Civil War.

Nobel Laureate - 1956

Juan Ramon Jimenez. Spanish poet and writer, Jimenez, lived from 1881 - 1958 and was recognized for his "for his lyrical poetry, which in the Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistical purity".

So there you go. One more post probably before the missus and I head away for the weekend. I hope you're enjoying.

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