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The Daily Goodbye

Patricia Sullivan

Good morning (and isn't it a wonder how having a houseguest will get you up and going early? I propose a new Twitter hashtag: #NoExcusesWednesday.)

You may not remember a time when people found jobs via newspaper want ads, but way back in the 1960s, children, you looked for work in the back of a printed paper under such headings as "Help Wanted, Men" or "Help Wanted, Women." You can guess which category had higher-paying jobs. Gerald Gardner, who died Sunday in Pittsburgh, provided the statistical underpinnings for the landmark Supreme Court case that resulted in the prohibition of sex discrimination in newspaper want ads.

Claude Purdy, a director who was instrumental in the career of now-renowned playwright August Wilson, died Monday in Alexandria, Va. Purdy urged Wilson to turn his poems about black heroes of the Old West into a play, and staged Wilson's first professional production.

All politics (and news) is local, which is why a commuter train crash in Washington that killed nine last month was top news for weeks. In the beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean, meanwhile, dozens of Haitians fleeing poverty have been lost when their overloaded wooden sloop sank. So far, 15 dead, 118 rescued and about 70 still missing. These tragedies happen with depressing frequency.

Before we appreciate our parents, we put up with them. Imagine the kids of Herman Urschel, a Denver film processor, who knew when not to take another bite at the dinner table, because their father was coming back with a camera. "He chronicled every day of our lives," said his daughter. "It's a little bit horrifying" to look at all those pictures.

Speaking of horrifying, an account of a British soldier's imprisonment in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, along the River Kwai, during World War II is on the London Telegraph's website this morning. The details are apparently from Stephen Alexander's own memoirs. His postwar life gets three paragraphs in his obit.

Julia Child wasn't always a world-famous chef and Clint Eastwood wasn't always a major movie star. Before the world knew them as such, Ann Morgan had them on her television show. She also sold her own advertising, drove with a lead foot and loved a good steak, rare. She died July 9 of congestive heart failure. She was 88.

By Patricia Sullivan |  July 29, 2009; 8:05 AM ET  | Category:  Patricia Sullivan , The Daily Goodbye
Previous: Obit as Equalizer | Next: 'Giving Up The Ghost'

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