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The Villages
Tuesday, August 9, 2022

The New York Times Birthday Book

Barry Evans
Barry Evans

As we all are very aware – and get more aware as the years pile up – the anniversary of your birth shows up on the calendar.  It happened to me recently, and as a result I received some presents.  The type of present was influenced by how many birth date anniversaries I have had.  The Blonde in the House does not permit the mention of the specific one as she determined some time ago that if people know your age, they look at you differently.  There is no doubt that if you are ten, people look at you one way and if you are fifty another way.  That is probably not exactly what the Blonde has in mind, but you get the idea.

Now as to presents, one of the ones that I received was a New York Times Birthday Book from our oldest son and daughter-in-law.  It is one huge book and very heavy. It starts out with the front page of the Times on the day that you were born.  The rest of the book deals with other pages dealing with what happened on your birthdate in subsequent years.

One of the reasons that the book is so big is because the Times used to be one huge newspaper with lots of type on each page. Even though they have copied it onto new paper, and despite its huge size, the print is extremely small – and difficult to read.  However, despite my advancing age, I persevered in determining what occurred on my day of birth. The cost of the Times then was two cents. I believe that it is slightly higher now!

On the first page, it was noted that the Republicans were having problems at their convention with the “Ultra-Wets”.  Now that is an expression that you don’t hear much anymore.  I imagine that all of you who read this know the meaning. However, in case there are a few who don’t, it involved folks who wanted to make darn certain that prohibition went bye-bye forever – if not longer. While they were ardent about their interest, there was one matter worth noting.  That is, there were no protests outside, no burning, looting etc.  As we all are aware, they were successful, but they did it peacefully.  What a concept!

A few years further along there was an article about how the cruise industry was improving.  It seems on my birth date that year there were 14,000 passengers leaving New York on 25 liners.  The biggest ship in passengers was the Europa with 1960 followed by the Count di Savola which had 1800. However, if you wanted real privacy, you could have taken the Portland Bull which had three passengers – probably a couple and the butler!  Today, naturally you have more employees on the ships than passengers noted above.  On the other hand, I bet not one of those ships has a roller coaster on it – but they most likely still had fun.

I would suggest to any interested that the next time your family asks for a birthday suggestion, that you tell them that you want the New York Times Birthday Book. I must warn you though that if you read the Times today it might be difficult for you.  The reason being is that in most of the years covered in the Birthday Book, the paper is straight news.  There is no slanting so you might have to do your own.  Try it, it’s fun and good exercise for your brain!

At my age, I use whatever is available!

Barry Evans is a columnist for Villages-News.com.

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