When Carter was inaugurated in 1977, my mom kept me home to watch the ceremonies. Partly because she was so psyched about having a Democratic prez for a change, and partly because she thought I should see any inauguration, for education purposes. The school accepted this as a valid excuse (small town) on the teacher’s condition that I write a composition about the inauguration, to prove that I’d really watched it and not the Flintstones.
I don’t remember what I had to say about the ceremony, but at the end, I put, “P.S. [name I can’t remember] died today.” As I remember, I added that because it was mentioned as an aside on the nightly news, and I felt bad for this guy who, it seemed to me, was thoroughly out of the loop, dying while everyone else was rejoicing.
For years, I wondered just who the heck it was who died that day. Just now, I took it upon myself to do a Google search. I couldn’t find a page devoted entirely to people who died on a certain date. Few this-day-in-history pages acknowledged death dates at all. Finally, I found one that did, but didn’t have anyone marked for 1977.
Then it occurred to me that just because my mom (she was the one who called my attention to it) made note of this guy’s death, doesn’t mean he was a noteworthy figure to the people who compile historical calendars. She once e-mailed me to tell me that an umpire had died. Mr. 1/20/77 could have been the inventor of the tea bag, or Gary Cooper’s stand-in, or the guy who wrote “The Poky Little Puppy”, for all I know.
And I may never know!