A date to remember
By Robin Scott
People enjoy dates. They enjoy honoring them, celebrating them and having something in common with an event that occurred on the same date. On January 6, 1759 George Washington married Martha Dandridge Curtis, and on the same day in 1838, Samuel Morse made his first public demonstration of the telegraph. Nearly 50 years later, also on January 6th, Seattle was connected to the east coast via the Great Northern Railway.
Looking back to see “how far” society has evolved is an interesting endeavor. Other noteworthy events occurring on January 6th include that New Mexico became the 47th state in 1912, and in 1957 Elvis Presley made is final appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Unbelievably, the Rolling Stones had their first tour as the headline act in 1964 and 46 years later, they still entertain.
On this day in 1972, the U.S. men’s figure skater, Kenneth Shelley, and women’s, Janet Lynn took championships. In 1975, the “Wheel of Fortune” premiered on TV and people continue to spin the wheel today, although the prizes are much greater. In 1976, millionaire Ted Turner purchased the Atlanta Braves for $12 Million, which is probably just a salary or two for players today.
Astronomers at the University of California saw, for the first time, the birth of a galaxy in 1987. Who can forget the 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan by fellow skater Tonya Harding? And on this day in 1998, Barry Switzer resigned as coach for the Dallas Cowboys.
For some reason, it is nice to say, “I was born on the same day as,” or “I got married on the day that happened.” A fascination with events from the past and the dates that they occurred on proves that memories are important and identifying with an event creates a feeling of connectedness, of being special.
Anyone born on January 6, 1945 shares their birth date with the creation of Pepe Le Pew, the famous cartoon skunk who was always looking for love. Other famous January 6th babies include John DeLorean, Vic Tayback and Kathy Sledge of “Sisters Sledge.”
Although every day is someone’s birthday, finding out that someone shares a birthday somehow creates a bond between the two. Everyone asks an expectant mother, “When are you due,” and perhaps secretly hoping the date will coincide with some special date for the inquisitor, and if it does, “Oh, that’s my mother’s birthday!” is yelped.
What will happen in the Dalhart area on January 6th that may be talked about for years to come, or who will be born at Coon Memorial Hospital that can say they share their birthday with Charles Haley of the Dallas Cowboys? Perhaps next year an article may appear that includes a special local happening that occurred.
The interest in dates and corresponding dates seems to bring a common interest to people. People often choose a date because of some special significance it holds for them. Getting married on grandma’s anniversary, or retiring on the same day that dad did are ways that people stay connected with their past and to those things that are important to them.
Not all memories associated with dates are pleasant. The date may be the anniversary of a death in the family or the loss of a job or the day that something bad happened. In that event, people are more than willing to avoid using the date for anything of importance in the future so that the new anticipated good memory is not forever connected to the bad one.
Placing meaning on a particular date because of its connection to something else is just what people do. No American will ever choose to get married on September 11th again and those people who happen to share that date as their birth date will forever here a disappointed, “Oh,” when they mention it’s their birthday. Whatever the event, birth, death, marriage, promotion or even tragedy, remembering dates adds importance to life and to history. It has a way of stating, “I was here.” That seems to be the driving force. Making sure that no life goes unnoticed or not remembered.