You probably don’t know who Horatio Nelson Jackson was, unless you watched the Ken Burns documentary Horatio’s Drive. He was the first person (with his driver Sewall K. Crocker) to cross the United States by car, which he did in 1903. He was born on this day in 1872. The great Hungarian composer Bela Bartok was born in 1881. Ed “Juror #10” Begley was born in 1901. One of the members of the failed 20 July Plot to kill Hitler, Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim, was born in 1905 (and was killed as a result in 1944). The great British director David Lean was born in 1908. In 1911, Lee Harvey Oswald killer Jack Ruby was born. And seven years later Howard Cosell was born.
Lots of birthdays today as well. The wonderful Japanese actress who starred in Rashomon, Machiko Kyo, is 89 today. Gloria Steinem is 79. Anita Bryant, probably as bigoted as ever in the name of God, is 73. A woman for whom I have a great deal of respect, Aretha Franklin is 71. So is The Rocky Horror Picture Show creator Richard O’Brien. Elton John is 66. Bonnie Bedelia is 65. And overrated and thoroughly dislikeable actress Sarah Jessica Parker is 48.
Lots of birthdays, not a lot of great artists or thinkers or whatnot. But there is one: Flannery O’Connor was born on this day in 1925. I can’t say that I enjoy reading her, but I am constantly blown away at just what a great writer she is. I know a lot of people just brush her off as the female William Faulkner, but I really think she was better. This is amazing when you consider how young she was. She was only 39 years old when she died of Lupus. Anyway, if you want to learn to write, read Flannery O’Connor.
Thanks for all your stories and a very happy birthday!