Friday, July 16, 2010

July 16th birthdays

FRIDAY, JULY 16, 2010

My birthday is today, July 16th. That is one of the many reasons why I am so partial to the number sixteen. On this July 16th, I hearby present a list to you of some renowned persons who share my birthday.

St. Clare of Assisi was born on this day in 1194. In Italian, her name is “Santa Chiara.” She was born and died at Assisi and was a follower and protégé of St. Francis. On February 17, 1958, the Vatican designated her as the patron saint of television. There is a story that St. Clare was ill and bed-ridden one Christmas Eve in 1252. She was disappointed that she was not well enough to attend Mass in the new Basilica of St. Francis in town, but had a vision of the Mass, both hearing and seeing it from several miles away. It is for this reason she was pronounced the patron saint of television. Clare is also the patron saint of sore eyes. In 1996, while on a tour of Italy, I visited the Basilica of Saint Clare in Assisi.

The great dancer and actress, Ginger Rogers was born on this day in 1911. She’ll always be remembered as the legendary Fred Astaire’s dancing partner, although she was an accomplished actress in her own right. Together they were magical and I sometimes imagine what it must have been like to glide so effortlessly and graciously with Astaire. Ginger Rogers was born Virginia McMath in Independence Missouri. She died in at her home in Rancho Mirage, California on April 25, 1995 at the age of 83.

Movie and television actress Barbara Stanwyck was born on July 16, 1907 in Brooklyn, New York. Her birth name was Ruby Stevens. Fans of the Big Valley (1965-1969) will remember her primarily for her role as Victoria Barkley, the matriarch of that television western. However, she had a long and successful film career and was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Although she never won an Oscar, Stanwyck received four Academy Award nominations, the first for 1937’s Stella Dallas. Her film career ended in 1964 and she moved on to an Emmy-winning television career. Barabara Stanwyck retired in 1986 after appearing on the primetime television soaps Dynasty and The Colbys. She died on January 20, 1990 in Santa Monica, California at the age of 82.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science movement, was born on July 16th, 1821 in Bow, New Hampshire. She spent much of her life in ill health. Her health improved dramatically after she became a patient of the New England healer Phineas Pankhurst Quimby in 1862. Dr. Quimby and his "medicine-free" healing techniques influenced her greatly. Her health quickly improved and she discovered a sense of comfort and well-being. In 1875, Mary Baker Eddy published a book called "Science and Health” in which was set forth a philosophy of Christian faith and spiritual healing. She formed the Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston in 1879, a church that often faced controversy for its beliefs and techniques. In 1908, at the age of 87, Mrs. Eddy founded the Christian Science Monitor, a well-respected and successful newspaper. She died on December 3, 1910 at her home in Newton. Massachusetts. In 1995, Mary Baker Eddy was elected to the National Women's Hall of Fame as the only American woman to found a worldwide religion.

Baseball’s "Shoeless" Joe Jackson was born Joseph Jefferson Jackson in Brandon Mills, South Carolina on July 16, 1887. According to his official web site, he received the nickname “Shoeless” after playing a minor league game in his stockings. A new pair of spikes had caused him to have blisters on his feet. As a member of the Chicago White Sox, Jackson became embroiled in baseball’s infamous “Black Sox” scandal. In 1920, the left fielder was suspended from playing baseball after allegations that he was involved in the throwing of the 1919 World Series. The following year, a jury acquitted Shoeless Joe of conspiring to fix the World Series. Despite the court’s decision, Jackson and seven other Chicago players were banned from baseball for life. Shoeless Joe cannot be inducted into the baseball's Hall of Fame unless and until he is reinstated by Major League Baseball. Joe's supporters point out that he had a .375 batting average and recorded 12 hits in the 1919 World Series. His detractors counter that he failed to hit in the clutch during that series. Although the debate rages on all these years later, Jackson's hitting ability has never been disputed. Shoeless Joe Jackson died in Greenville, South Carolina on December 5, 1951 at the age of 64. He is sometimes reported to appear in Iowa cornfields (just kidding about that).

Orville Redenbacher of popcorn fame was born on the 16th of July in 1907 on a farm near Brazil, Indiana. In 1951, he purchased the George F. Chester and Son dent seed corn plant with partner Charlie Bowmannear Valparaiso, Indiana, and experimented with tens of thousands of hybrid strands of popcorn before achieving success. In 1970, he marketed Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn. Renenbacher sold the company to Hunt-Wesson Foods, a division of Norton Simon, Inc., in 1976. On September 19, 1995, he suffered a heart attack and drowned while in the whirlpool tub of his condominium in Coronado, California. The popcorn king was 88 years old.

Happy Birthday to all those born on July 16th.

- Joanne