Sunday, July 11, 2010

On My Way

Greetings to you from Iowa, from Clear Lake, which is not so very far from Mason City, where Mr. and Mrs. Wilson had a son in the spring of 1902. They named him Meredith, one of those handsome names such as Beverly (For my folks, the best part of Billy Graham's programs was George Beverly Shea's singing.), Marion (John Wayne's original moniker, & Vivian (Harry Truman's kid brother) that used to be given to boys. I'm making my way to Minnesota, be heading out in the next little while, but for now it's Sunday morning, 11th of July. John Quincy Adams was born on this day in 1767, to parents who made no secrets of their great expectations for him.  He grew up in an exceedingly perilous time to be a diplomat, a constant diarist, and President, a one-termer like his remarkable dad.  I wrote & illustrated a book about J.Q.A. years ago: Young John Quincy. It was in print about three weeks, maybe a little longer. Up until recently, books have required ink & paper. They still require good luck. Ah well, a quibble, small peas, compared to the determination of the Adamses.
Meredith Wilson, I was going to say, ended up writing The Music Man, set in "River City, Iowa," but you probably know River City is Mason City.  I'll pay it a visit before I drive on to New Ulm, MN,  childhood hometown of the delightful author-illustrator Wanda Ga'g.  If you don't know her Norwegian name, you certainly know - or lucky you: you still have it to discover! -  Millions of Cats.  It was Captain Kangaroo who introduced it to me...  I'm to do some presentations there, at Wanda's house, regarding writing, researching a character, and then? Laurapalooza in Deep Valley. And, not so by the way, it's Yul Brynner's birthday today, born in eastern Russia in 1920, very perilous times there. 'Don't smoke," he warned us all, not long before he died.
Please note that a most elegant & genial writer was born on this day, in 1899.  His folks named him Elwyn, another fine name fallen out of fashion. Elwyn Brooks White.  E.B. on his books. You know them.  He was Andy to his friends. 
And please, please note that it was on this day, 50 years ago that To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's  noble book, was published.  Let's go read it. 

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