God Sib

Your God Sibling. The one you told all your secrets to. God Sibs… godsibs…ta-da…gossip! Often near your own age, your God Sib was the Godchild of your parents. Your God Sib was the one you trusted above all others. More than your sisters. More than your brothers. Even more than your cousin, unless, of course…

The Year was 453

Even 15 centuries later, this name, Attila the Hun, brings images of barbaric carnage. The word barbarian came from the word Greeks used to designate anyone who was not Greek. To the urbane Greeks, those people sounded like they were saying “bar bar” and thus became known as barbarophonos. Barbarophonos came to mean ‘bearded and…

The Year was 1986

What do you do when you can’t sleep? You read novels. And what do you do when you want to encourage authors to write more novels? You buy a 13th century castle in Scotland and set up a writers’ retreat – all expenses paid. Doreen Mary English did just this. Born in England in 1915…

The Year was 2010

The oldest (verifiable) person in the world just died. Tajima Nabi was born in 1900, in a small town on an island in Japan. She lived 117 years and 260 days. She is succeeded by another Japanese woman, 116-year-old Miyako Chiyo. The oldest living man, 112-year-old Masazo Nonaka, is also Japanese On any given day,…

The Year was 1151

Did King Arthur actually live? Or Guinevere? Merlin, Mordred – were any of them real? Vaguely real? Their tales of quests, of magic, of forbidden love, of betrayal were sung in ballads for hundreds of years before Geoffrey of Monmouth, a professor at Oxford from 1129 to 1151, included Arthur (books 9 and 10) in…

The Year was 1909

Now that baseball season is underway, what is the most spectacular ever made? Or is it two? There are surely a lot of candidates, but these two can’t be beat. The first one happened on Monday Aug. 16, 1909. It was made by New York Giants’ right fielder, Red Murray. The red-haired John Murray, the…

The Year was 1923

An upscale real estate developer decided he needed to advertise his property in a big way. He commissioned a sign be built – 13 letters, each one 50 feet tall, and set on the hillside overlooking his development. The letters were so big that telephone poles were used to secure them in place. And then…

The Year was 1588

“My pig wife.”   “My stupid son.” People said these things not because they believed them but because they were respectful of the gods. You did not praise your loved ones for fear of offending the gods, for fear of arousing the gods’ jealousy. But new father Toyotomi Hideyoshi, 52, and one of the greatest warlords…

The Year was 1917

This was the year the unthinkable happened – a woman ran for Congress. And won! The state was Montana and the woman was Republican Jeannette Rankin. Her achievement was monumental because she was a lobbyist for the suffrage movement. In fact, because she had pushed Montana to give women the vote in 1914, they could…

The Year was 2007

Both prime ministers met death at the hands of their countrymen. The astounding thing is that they were father and daughter. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was born in the Raj of the British Commonwealth and went to college in California and then in England, where he studied law. In 1953, Bhutto married and Iranian beauty. Two…

The Year was 1035

When King Cnut died in 1035, it should have been a simple matter to divide his kingdom between his two teenage sons. King Cnut had a wife, Emma of Normandy. They had a son, Harthacnut.  King Cnut also had a mistress, Aelfgifu. And they had a son, Harold Harefoot. King Cnut ruled two kingdoms, the…