This Day in History – October 16 – Hijinx, Humor, and Insight

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NewsWhistle is pleased to feature Gary Jenneke’s “This Day In History” column.

You can read the original at Gary’s THIS DAY IN HISTORY blog — or scroll down to enjoy Gary’s unique look at life’s comings and goings.

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THIS DAY IN HISTORY… OCTOBER 16

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1869 – In Boston, MA the first hotel with indoor plumbing opens.

I, for one, have been grateful for this development ever since.

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1946 – Ten Nazi leaders were hung for their crimes against humanity.

Hitler, Goebbels, Goering, and Himmler had all already committed suicide. 11 million killed in death camps, 6 million of them Jews. Millions and millions more died before the Nazi onslaught. And ten men were executed for it. In 1862, during the Dakota Uprising, 600 white Minnesota settlers were killed. 38 warriors were hung. And this was after Lincoln commuted the death sentences of hundreds of others.

If these numbers seem a bit disproportionate, one must consider that the Indians were viewed as savages.

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1961 – I was at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, several weeks into my boot training, scared, homesick, and unhappy.

I had mid-watch one night, fire watch. I stood in the lighted foyer, quarterdeck in Navy parlance, feeling sorry for myself while a barracks full of young sailors slept. A dark world surrounded me and at 0100 I dutifully went to a logbook to make an entry. As I wrote down the date I was momentarily elated as I realized it was my birthday. Then I became depressed, knowing the day of misery facing me. I had to do something to cheer myself up so I began singing. “Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear Gary, happy—“

“What the fuck are you doing?”

A gravelly voice interrupted me from behind. “Are you fucking singing?”

Given his enraged expression I could only assume singing on watch was a no-no. I stood at rigid attention, my eyes straight ahead. “It’s my birthday, sir.” I squeaked out a weak explanation.

The Chief Petty Officer, a sneer on his lips and disgust in his eyes, stuck his fleshy, vein-streaked face into mine. “There’s no fucking singing on watch, there’s no fucking singing in this man’s Navy.” His breath smelled of tobacco, alcohol, and perhaps some liverwurst that had been lodged behind his molars since the Battle of Midway. After reaming me out for an indeterminate amount of time for being such a poor specimen of a not only a sailor, but a human being, he finally turned away. He walked toward the exit, and then stopped at the door. Turning his head but without actually looking at me, his gravel voice just a tad less gravely, he said, “Happy birthday, kid.”

And that was my eighteenth birthday.

1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis starts. Wondered if I’d ever see age 20. 

1963 – Made it to 20. Celebrated with too much apricot brandy in San Diego, California.

Other notable birthdays:

1854 – Oscar Wilde. Writer. The Picture of Dorian Gray.

1888 – Eugene O’Neill. Writer. Nobel prizewinning playwright.

1927 – Gunther Grass. Writer. The Tin Drum.

October 16th seems to be the day for famous writers, and one not so famous one. At least I’m in good company.

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ABOUT GARY JENNEKE

At various junctures of his life, Gary has been an indifferent grade school student, poor high school student, good Navy radioman, one-time hippie, passable college student, inveterate traveler, dedicated writer, miscast accountant (except for one interesting stint at a Communist café), part-time screenwriting teacher, semi-proud veteran, unsuccessful retiree and new blogger.

You can reach him at gary@newswhistle.com.

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CREDITS

The above information was sourced from the following sites and newspapers.

Sources:

Gary Jenneke

OnThisDay.com

Wikipedia.org

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We’d also like to thank the following photographers and videographers for the use of their images:

* Lead-In Image (“Oscar Wilde (1864-1900), photograph by Napoleon Sarony, 1882”) –  Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

oscar wilde portrait

* Outro (Man-In-Museum Cartoon) – SkyPics Studio / Shutterstock.com

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OTHER DAYS IN HISTORY …

December 2

December 3

December 5

December 8

December 9

December 11

December 12

December 13

* December 15

December 16

December 18

December 19

December 22

December 23

December 24

December 25

December 28

January 1

January 3

* January 4

January 6

January 7

January 8

January 11

January 12

January 14

January 15

January 17

January 19

January 22

January 23

January 24

January 28

January 29

February 1

February 2

February 3

February 5

February 9

February 10

February 12

February 14

February 15

February 20

February 21

February 22

February 25

February 28

February 29

March 2

March 4

March 6

March 9

March 11

March 12

March 14

March 15

March 17

March 19

March 21

March 22

March 23

March 27

March 28

March 29

April 2

April 3

April 4

April 6

April 9

April 11

April 13

April 16

April 18

April 21

* April 22

April 23

April 26

April 28

April 29

May 1

May 2

* May 3

May 5

May 6

May 9

May 10

May 11

* May 13

May 16

May 17

May 22

May 24

May 26

May 27

* May 28

May 29

May 31

June 1

June 3

June 4

June 8

June 10

June 11

June 13

June 16

June 17

June 18

June 21

June 22

June 24

June 27

June 28

June 29

July 2

July 3

July 4

July 9

July 10

July 13

July 14

July 15

July 19

July 20

July 23

July 24

July 25

July 29

July 30

July 31

August 2

* August 3

August 6

August 7

August 10

August 11

August 13

August 16

August 17

August 19

August 21

August 23

August 24

August 25

August 28

August 29

August 31

September 2

September 4

September 5

September 6

September 10

September 11

September 12

September 15

September 16

September 17

September 20

September 21

September 23

September 25

September 26

September 27

September 29

September 30

October 1

October 3

October 4

October 5

October 6

October 7

October 10

October 11

October 12

October 13

October 14

October 15

October 18

October 20

October 24

October 25

October 26

October 27

October 30

October 31

November 1

November 3

*November 4

November 5

November 6

November 8

November 9

November 10

November 11

November 13

November 14

November 15

November 16

*November 17

November 18

* November 19

November 20

November 23

November 24

November 26

November 28

November 29

November 30

* Stay tuned for more!

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