October 16

Amber pages

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde, born today in 1854

David Ben Gurion, Israel's founding Prime Minister, born today in 
1886. Originally I had this marked for December 1, his deathdate in 1973; but I want to commemorate his life, not his death. Through all the years that I lived in Israel, I never found an excuse to do so,  but in 2009 I visited his kibbutz, Sde Boker, and the museum that has been made out of his tiny wooden house, because it was included in the itinerary our educational travel agent put together for the 9th grade trip that I was leading, my first visit to the country in 25 years... 

Eugene Gladstone O'Neill, US playwright, ended the long night's journey into day, today in 

Gunter Grass, former member of the Hitler Youth, beater of the tin drum for a redeemable Germany, born today in 

Marie Antoinette guillotined, today in 1793 - see also April 16

"Sorrow had blanched the Queen’s once beautiful hair; but her features and air still commanded the admiration of all who beheld her; her cheeks, pale and emaciated, were occasionally tinged with a vivid colour at the mention of those she had lost ... she had cut off her hair with her own hands.

"Placed in a tumbrel, with her arms tied behind her, she was taken by a circuitous route to the Place de la Revolution, and she ascended the scaffold with a firm and dignified step, as if she had been about to take her place on a throne by the side of her husband.

"[She] wore a white gown, a white handkerchief covered her shoulders, a white cap her hair; a black ribbon bound this cap round her temples ... The cries, the looks, the laughter, the jests of the people overwhelmed her with humiliation; her colour, changing continually from purple to paleness, betrayed her agitation ... On reaching the scaffold she inadvertently trod on the executioner’s foot. 'Pardon me,' she said, courteously.

"She knelt for an instant and uttered a half- audible prayer; then rising and glancing towards the towers of the Temple, 'Adieu, once again, my children,' she said; 'I go to rejoin your father.'
Charles Lacretelle, French historian ,1766-1855

John Brown and Company seized the US arsenal at Harpers Ferry, today in 1859 - see December 2

China set off its first atom bomb, today in 

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