Newspapers are sure aiming for the lowest common denominator these days. boy. In the condensed headlines-only online version of the Boston Globe that appeared in my inbox yesterday it read, “This Day in History: Ally Sheedy turns 50.”
Really? News about that little fox-faced waif from The Breakfast Club tops the list of all the things that happened on July 13 over the centuries?
I clicked on that link and saw that all kinds of other things happened too, far sweeter things and more evocative things:
Like the fact that on that date in 1842, Queen Victoria became the first British monarch to ride on a train, traveling from Slough Railway Station to Paddington in 25 minutes. (Paddington! Like the bear! Queen Victoria, who missed her dead Prince Albert so much after his death at 42 that forever after she had the servants bring fresh water to his dressing room, the same as when he was alive!)
Or the fact that on that date in 1886, King Ludwig II of Bavaria drowned in Lake Starnberg. (A king drowns? Was there even an investigation? Was it like Fredo’s death in Godfather Two – or wait, that wasn’t exactly a drowning was it?)
Or what about on July 13, 1927 when Charles Lindbergh was honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York City? Lindbergh, that hero who turned into a pariah for saying nice things about the Nazis! I always felt like I knew the guy: my mom was in college with Anne Morrow, his future wife, who went on to live through so much, her husband’s ostracism, the kidnapping of their dear first baby, the many burdens of fame… Mom heard her once in the college book store, talking about how she had just met the famous young aviator…