Wednesday, January 18, 2012

This Day in History

"History never looks like history when you are living through it."
  ~John W. Gardner

Seems like yesterday I was sweating blood in Mr. B's history class in high school.  Mr. B. assigned us chapters to read, he told us to find the answers to the questions at the end of the chapter, he gave us written tests and surprise pop quizzes, and harshly placed judgment on our efforts with grades ranging from A+ down to F.  History class was regimented.  Read-memorize-test-grade.  It didn't matter a flick if we understood.  All that mattered was if we could provide the correct answers to Mr. B's testing questions.  His tests were intermittent true and false, multiple choice, sometimes fill-in-the-blank.  We guessed and we prayed.  I've always felt that tests were the biggest barrier to my education.   

Maybe that was okay, because when I got out of school and no longer had to fear the fight for good grades, history started to infatuate me.  Even this morning I thought it would be fun to see what historical events took place on other January 18ths.....

1778 - Captain James Cook first sighted a group of islands in the Central Pacific.  He named them the Sandwich Islands after his friend John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, England, and first lord of the Admiralty.  Cook's name for the islands was used until the 1840s.  The natives' dislike for the name, a formalized government, and American influences all factored into the eventual change for them to be called the Hawaiian Islands.  Hawaii is said to mean "Place of the Gods." 
1861 - American Civil War - Georgia joined South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama in pulling away from the United States.
1862 - Confederate Territory of Arizona was formed.
1896 - 1st demo of an x-ray machine in New York City.
1943 - United States rationed bread and metal.  Can we in America today imagine what it would be like to have our food rationed?  Especially bread?  This was only 69 years ago.  
1943 - Pre-sliced bread sale was banned to reduce bakery demand for metal parts.
1948 - Ted Mack hosted the first Original Amateur Hour, and the airing of his show continued until 1970, 24 years later.  I never knew Ted Mack's real name was Edward McGuiness.  When he became a band leader and his name wouldn't fit on a theatre marquees, the theatre manager shortened his name to Ted Mack....and it stuck. I'll be darned.  

Just for the heck of it, if anyone cares to see if history repeats itself.......on this day in 1986, the New York Lotto paid out $30.5 million to one winner  (#s were:  19-20-27-34-41-46).