The Year was 1942

That year, 22-year-old Eddie Slovik fell in love and changed his life. Born in Detroit, Eddie was a tough kid in a tough city. At 12, he quit school and got a job in a store. For helping himself to his boss’s gum, he spent a year in jail. Two years later, Eddie and some…

The Year was 1983

After nearly choking to death as a child, Tennessee Williams had a fear of dying in that way, Tennessee was a brilliant publicist – his own.  His name was not Tennessee. And he was not even born in Tennessee. But those lies were necessary for him to be eligible to enter a playwriting contest. So…

The Year was 1896

What is May Irwin famous for? The very first kiss every filmed. May Irwin was born in Canada and named Georgina May Campbell. When she was 13, her father died. Her mother, in need of money to support herself and her two daughters, Adeline and Georgia, had them do a vaudeville act as “The Irwin…

The Year was 1906

I used to be Snow White but I drifted. Mae West The daughter of a corset model, little Mae was on a vaudeville stage by the time she was five. At 13, billed as the Baby Vamp, she was doing the new dance, the shimmy, to packed houses in New York City. Decades ahead of…

The Year was 2012

  It was Labor Day weekend. Jo Ann and Tom, true loves who had found each other later in life, were having a romantic end of summer weekend with their some of their best friends at one of the favorite places, Block Island, a small, laid back out-of-the-way place just off the coast of Rhode…

The Year was 1937

The brothers were born two years apart. The younger one died in 1937, when he was 38. The older one lived to be 86. Yet it is the younger one who became the most famous. He was George Gershwin, born in 1898 in Brooklyn. Their parents had emigrated from Russia. They wanted Ira, the first…

The Year was 1939

July 4th 1939 was Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day. It was a double header against the Washington Senators. Yankee Stadium was jammed with almost 62,000 fans. During the break between games, the fans heard a lot of people speak as Gehrig stood there, silent. He had said he would not speak. Lou’s mother, a German immigrant…

The Year was 1873

Margaret was four and Emma was fourteen when the U.S. Congress passed Anthony Conmstock’s 1873 Comstock Law, the “Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use.” It would put both Emma and Margaret in jail. Both women ended up in New York City. Emma came from Russia and then…

The Year was 1902

Selma Leeman: A Finnish-American Immigrant Girl’s Success Story From guest contributor Bruce Matson Selma Liimatainen started life in the small Village of Kivijärvi, Finland in 1889. As an 11-year-old, she arrived in America in 1902. Selma Sofia (she later changed her last name to Leeman) came to Quincy, Massachusetts to join her father and her…

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…