I'm writing this while we sit at vigil, waiting for my Daddy to die. He's been sleeping peacefully now, without any food or liquid intake, for the last 9 days. He's not hurting, his family is all here, and it's just a waiting time before his body finally wears out and quits working.
I'm sad, or course, and have had my moments of tears, but I'm at peace with his death. He's lived a long and vigorous life. He was still cutting his own grass up until the age of 100, and would have kept on doing it after that if we hadn't insisted that he quit, for safety's sake.
I'm sitting here, in the bedroom with him, while everyone else is fast asleep. I've been thinking about all that has happened in the world in Daddy's lifetime, so I decided to check out the major events of his early years, using Brainy History as a reference.
Here's a list of some of the things that I found interesting that happened when Daddy was a child:
It seems fitting that the first thing that caught my eye in the list for 1905 was that an automobile reached 100 miles per hour in the year he was born. The Wright brothers patented the airplane when he was one year old, the first radio set was advertised, and Teddy Roosevelt becomes the first President to visit a foreign country. When he was two years old, San Francisco had an outbreak of the Bubonic Plague! That was the year that the automatic washer and dryer were introduced, and on Jan.1, 1908, the first ball dropped at Times Square for the New Year's celebration. The army added its first aircraft division then, too.
When he was three, the first Mother's Day was observed and the first passenger flight in an airplane took place. Henry Ford produced the first Model T, and the first Gideon Bible was put in a hotel room. That was the year that football uniforms first had numbers on them. When he was four, Honus Wagner stole his way around the bases in the first inning against the Cubs, the first Lincoln head pennies were issued, and Joan of Arc was declared a Saint.
As a five year old, China ended slavery, the first auto speedway race was run at the Los Angeles Motordome, the first Father's Day was observed, and President Taft threw out the first ball for the beginning of baseball season. Halley's comet could be seen by the naked eye that year, and the first running of the Indianapolis 500 races was held.
All the while, in Europe, the pogroms, assassinations, and political turmoil in Russia and other countries was building to the start of World War I. When he was seven years old, the Titanic made its fateful voyage across the Atlantic. Fenway Park and Tiger Stadium opened, and the first Keystone Cops movie was made.
In 1913, the first prize was added to a box of Cracker Jacks, the Federal Income Tax came into being, Woodrow Wilson became President, and the zipper was patented. As a nine year old, he would have heard about the first ship passing through the Panama Canal. Babe Ruth pitched in his first professional game that year, and World War I officially began.
In 1915, Albert Einstein published his Theory of Relativity, Germany used chlorine gas as a weapon for the first time, Thomas Edison invented the telephone, and the Raggedy Ann doll is patented. As an eleven year old, he might have heard about the first football game at the Rose Bowl, that women were first allowed to attend a boxing match, and the Boy Scouts of America was formed. But the main news of that year would be that the United States would enter into the World War.
In 1917, when he was 12 years old, the first jazz phonograph record for Victor Records was released. He was too young when the first military draft was called for that year. He probably wouldn't have paid any attention to the fact that 44 suffragettes were arrested in front of the White House.
Prohibition started when he was 13 years old. He might have read the first of Ripley's "Believe it or Not" columns in the newspaper that year, or maybe he saw the first Barney Google cartoon in the paper when he was 14. Certainly the big news of 1919 would have been the end of World War I.
1920 saw him as a fifteen year old boy, who would have probably found it strange that women were allowed to vote that year, when the 19th Amendment was ratified. Maybe he would have noticed that the National Negro Baseball League and the NFL were established that year, and the first woman won a medal for the US in the Olympics, but I rather doubt it. I imagine he was excited to hear that Babe Ruth hit his 54th home run in a season, and he probably knew that Man O War ran his last race that year. He was probably keeping up with baseball and would have been interested to know that the American League ruled that spitball pitchers could continue to use it.
The Black Sox scandal would certainly have been important to him when he was sixteen. I wonder if he heard the first World Series radio broadcast, when the Yanks beat the Giants. I bet he did! He told me some time ago that he built his own crystal radio set when he was a boy.
Times were changing fast at the beginning of the Roaring Twenties. As a seventeen year old, he would have been going to Trade School in Chicago, learning how to build and work on radios. A lot changed in the years he was growing up, and oh so much more has changed since he became an adult. I read through the list of each year and what happened in it, and it's almost beyond my comprehension that he saw the beginnings of so many things we take for granted today.
Just think what our children will look back on at the end of their lives, remembering when!