Monday, June 21, 2010


            So, it’s the longest day of the year, here in the northern hemisphere and summer begins this morning. If you’re reading this, you may well wish to know – you probably already know that it was on this day in 1675 that Sir Christopher Wren started rebuilding St. Paul’s Cathedral, in London. There wasn’t much left of it or thousands of buildings thereabouts after that big, whacking fire that started in September of 1666.  Over in Rome, only 33 years earlier (347 years ago today), that Pope Urban VIII, issued the verdict: Galileo Galilei, the Florentine, was guilty, absolutely guilty, no fooling, of not only believing, but teaching the pernicious and scandalous doctrines of the Polish astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus. Now, Copernicus had been in his grave since the spring of 1543, but Galileo would be hanging about in the land of the living, albeit under house arrest, for another 8 ½ years before God Almighty punched the old astronomer’s ticket. And what was this ghastly theory, this notion that would undermine the foundations of the faithful, upset the cosmic apple cart? He contended that the Earth revolved around the Sun. Nothing like a new, ahead-of-its- time idea to get people all spun up into a white, frothy uproar. Why only this afternoon I was reading about Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, [I wrote about her in Rabble Rousers and Remember the Ladies. Did I ever write about Galileo? No, just a bit of factoid in the timeline in my Myles Standish book. Don’t you love knowing that Capt. Standish shared the world with Galileo? If you’re reading this, I’m betting you do.] In any case, Dr. Walker (1832-1919), was arrested more than once and she inspired all manner of outrage & ridicule for walking about in clear daylight in trousers, a.k.a. Turkish pantaloons!  A “pantaloonatic,” folks called her, that and a “bloomerite.”  True, this lady, the ONLY woman ever to have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, was as neurotic as the June bugs banging into my screen door right this minute, but grateful to Mary I am and to all those pioneer “dress reformers’ every time I pull on a pair of jeans. Don’t you just love history?  Happy Solstice everybody.




CC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CC said...

What a jolly, not to mention informative,
post. Exactly why I too get so excited learning about folks long ago who rocked traditional boats and upset accepted apple carts with their ideas and efforts.