“An Uncommon History of Common Things”
By Bethanne Patrick and John Thompson
I’m a bit of a trivia nut, to understate things enormously, so I was happy to see “An Uncommon History of Common Things” by Bethanne Patrick and John Thompson, published by National Geographic. The book is divided into nine chapters, covering Food & Drink, Seasons & Holidays, Ceremony & Customs, Symbols & Markings, Hearth & Home, Garments & Accessories, Medications & Potions, Toys & Games, and Tools & Innovations.
In addition to the main entries, there are blue boxes with Uncommonly Known stories to further inform and entertain and tan boxes with Parallel History information to put things into context. The second Uncommonly Known box, in the Food & Drink section, states that the bread slicer was invented in Iowa in 1917, but the first commercial use was in Chillicothe, Mo.!
In the section on lunch boxes, I learned that the first lunch box made for children was the Aladdin brand with Hopalong Cassidy decoration in the late 1940’s. No big surprise there, but (being a boomer baby) I didn’t realize that “concerned parents” in Florida rang the death knell for the metal lunch box and ushered in the age of plastics in the lunch box world.
Ceremony & Customs has an interesting piece about naming conventions. I remember hearing long ago that in Jewish custom, babies are named after deceased relatives but not living ones. According to the book, however, that is Ashkenazic custom, while Sephardic custom is exactly opposite. In Navajo culture, “a name is so powerful it is never used in everyday conversation.” In India, it is usual to have a “family” name used at home and a different formal name for use in the outside world.
Symbols & Markings gives a history of the peace symbol that I found interesting. It was created by a Londoner named Gerald Holtom for a march against nuclear armaments. It is a combination of the semaphores for “n” (nuclear) and “d” (disarmament). It made its first appearance in public on April 4, 1958 and the first appearance in the U.S. was evidently a photo of the march in Life magazine on April 14th.
“An Uncommon History of Common Things”
- Globe Life
Head for heritage: Through years of devotion to community, title of 'Mr. Carl Junction' earned
He worked for and later owned the town's weekly newspaper, the Standard, for more than 30 years; retired as the Jasper County deputy assessor in 2004; is president of the Carl Junction cemetery board and serves as the high school alumni association's corresponding secretary.
Phyllis Seesengood: Gardner's seventh in series among her best thrillers
"Fear Nothing," the seventh novel in the D.D. Warren series, may be Lisa Gardner's best psychological thriller yet.
Ryan Richardson: Dog remembers summer toads aren't chew toys
Over the next month, I became fascinated with their well-being. As far as I could tell, none of my other neighbors had the fortune of having these little guys pay them a visit.
Frankie Meyer: USGS launches powerful map tool
The site, historicalmaps .arcgis.com/usgs, will be a tremendous help to family history researchers. The maps are free, downloadable and printable. Best of all, they include the quadrangle maps that researchers used to pay for.
Cari Rerat: Gratton's series a great transition to Gaiman
In "The Lost Sun," the first book of "The United States of Asgard" by Tessa Gratton, Soren Bearskin is a berserker. He has an innate internal fire, a battle rage that he constantly tries to squelch with self-discipline, exercise, and meditation.
Frankie Meyer: List of historic sites offers plenty of research leads
In 1966, our federal government established the National Historic Preservation Act that set up the National Register of Historic Places.
Achievements (July 20)
The following people were recognized in the Joplin Globe for the following achievements.
Ryan Richardson: Preventing heat stroke can save your pet's life
I still see it around town, and it bothers me to see pets in a dangerous situation. But I don't think it is necessarily a product of intentional harm or neglect; I think it has more to do with understanding just how a dog ultimately deals with hot weather.
Shared palette: Married couple Steve and Cindy Head create art, show exhibits together
Steve Head is pretty good with cameras and video editing. Cindy Head is an expert quilter. Neither one had painted much a few years ago -- Cindy painted tulle and furniture for repurposing projects, but that was about it.
Linda Cannon: 'Freak' authors explain their unique thought processes
In 2006, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner wrote the huge best-seller "Freakonomics" and followed it up in 2009 with "Superfreakonomics." Now they bring us "Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain."
- More Globe Life Headlines
- Head for heritage: Through years of devotion to community, title of 'Mr. Carl Junction' earned