Despite the dog days of summer in hot-Alabama, that hunting season didn’t start until November, and the fish were hiding in the shady spots I couldn’t reach with the wiggler on the end of my fishing pole, still, I have eagerly awaited the month of August.
Back in 1952 I started the first grade at Wilmer Elementary in the very small west Mobile, Alabama town of Wilmer, I retired as an Associate Professor Emeritus from UNCC in July 2017 in the big city of Charlotte. In between those years I worked as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, district administrator and university professor and did it in the states of Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, and North Carolina.
At every stop along the way, August, for me, was always a month of anticipation and excitement—a month to continue where I had left off in June, a month to pick up from last year, a month, to do better than the year before. August, for me, was the opening of Pandora’s box from which would flow for the next nine months a stream of unknown and unimagined ideas and opportunities.
I wonder, now that I have written this introduction, can I find examples of people who, throughout history, have approached August with this same attitude of joyous expectations? Let’s just see.
|1||1990||The World Wide Web was introduced to the public on this date on 1990.||Invented by Sir Tim Berners in 1989, it was initially intended to link academic institutions around the world. Today, we know it as the Internet, and remember, it is a proper noun and is always capitalized!|
|2||2018||Apple, Inc. became the first publicly traded company to reach a value of a $Trillion||Whether you use a Mac or PC or an Android or iPhone, you must admit that this idea that started in a garage is really something to celebrate in August!|
|3||1492||Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three ships, Nina, Pintaand Santa Maria. Seeking a westerly route to the Far East, he instead landed on October 12th in the Bahamas, thinking it was an outlying Japanese island||I don’t know if this qualifies as the biggest navigation error on the high seas, but it should be up there near the top. I think it is sad that Columbus’s reputation has fallen in recent years. Seems to me there is room to equally celebrate his accomplishment and the importance of America’s indigenous peoples. I always was taught that he thought he had landed in India. Never knew he thought he had landed in Japan!|
|4||16681||Champagne is invented by the monk Dom Pérignon||1 This date is very doubtful, but it was one of many that I could have used. And to complicate things even more Monk Dom thought the bubbles were a mistake! And there are documents that show that sparkling wine was created in England long before Dom’s mistake. In a side note, in was in 1844 that Adolphe Jaquesson invented the muselet, the wire cage, to prevent the corks from blowing out.|
|6||1965||The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The Act suspended literacy, knowledge and character tests designed to keep African Americans from voting in the South. It also authorized the appointment of Federal voting examiners and barred discriminatory poll taxes.||Congrats to the thousands of people who worked so very hard to assure every American’s right to vote not be impinged upon by ill-intended bureaucratic dolts. We could use a bit of the cooperation that Congress demonstrated in passing the Act into federal law.|
|8||1960||Iitsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini hits #1 on the pop charts||I am certainly an old codger, but it seems to me we could use a little “real music” today!|
|10||1846||Congress passes the act that creates the Smithsonian Institution||A visionary accomplishment by Congress for sure. Come on folks, do it again!|
|12||1877||Thomas Edison invents the phonograph||Thanks Tom. I still love my turntable and vinyl records.|
|15||1969||Woodstock Music and Art Fair opened.||Were you there?|
|18||1972||Montgomery Ward issues its first mail order catalog.||And now there is Amazon.|
|22||1989||For you MLB fans, Nolan Ryan struck out his 5000thbatter.||5000 batters! What an accomplishment.|
|25||1916||The National Park Service was founded||Thanks to you Teddy Roosevelt for one of the greatest ideas of all mankind. Seniors can purchase a lifetime pass for $80 good at all national parks.|
|28||1963||MLK makes the “I Have a Dream Speech”||I do believe that there is no way I can find a more appropriate way to end this Moment in Time.|
On a personal note, I encourage you to take a few “Moments in Time” to reflect on your memories of those first days of school each about the difference in your life made by those special teachers. Or maybe even better, put a memory in writing and publish it on Facebook or even better, do a little research and send that story to a relative of that life-changing teacher.