Today I’m going to visit my mother in Yakima.  She is an active and healthy  90 years old.  She actually turned 90 in June and is the coolest nono-generian I know.  She reads books onto CDs for students at the local college.  She walks each day. She reads a ton of books and keeps up on the ongoing issues of the day.  She is also the treasurer of her condo association and keeps a close eye on the upkeep and maintenance of the 20+ condos.

Mom is engaging, interesting and a passionate advocate of doing what’s right.  Some would call her a liberal.  I would call her a caring and compassionate person who can’t tolerate bigotry, injustice and incompetence — especially in our government.  She watches Fox News a bit each day just to keep her heart rate up, as their point of view makes her crazy.

I try to get over and see her as often as possible.   Not just because she is my mother and she is 90.  And not just because I love her.  But because she is one of my best friends.

Oh, by the way, she LOVES Frank Sinatra.   And I gotta say, the dude could sing.  This one’s for you Mom:

Here is what I wrote on her birthday.

1921 Was A Great Year!

Of course, the single most important event of the year occurred on June
3rd, when Kathylene Jane Wood was born.  Everything else that happened that year paled
in significance to the birth of “Jane.”
Leaders around the world took note and many predicted a long and
wonderful life for the only liberal ever born in Eastern Washington.

Here’s what else was going on in 1921.

On the day Jane was born, Warren G. Harding was the 29th
president.  Warren went on to infamy as
the guy involved in the Teapot Dome scandal.
It had something to do with oil…which we are still dealing with

And for the first time in history, the U.S. restricted the flow of
immigrants by not allowing more than three percent of each nationality already
in the United States in 1921 to enter.
Today we struggle with immigration including building a 1000 mile fence
along our Southern border.  I wonder what
we are going to do about all the Canadians?
Should there be a fence up there too?
But I digress.

500 imported copies of James Joyce’s Ulysses were seized at the U.S. post office, declared obscene and
burned.  The regulators must be rolling
in their graves hearing about the MTV show Teenage

West Virginia imposed the first and certainly not the last sales tax in
1921.  The Michigan Supreme Court ruled
that the husband is master in the home … can we move to Michigan Barbara?

In 1921 Adolf Hitler was elected President of the National Socialist
German Workers’ Party and Benito Mussolini declared himself leader of the
National Fascist Party in Italy.  That
sure worked out well.  As Hitler was
rising to power Sweden abolished capital punishment.

The very first commercial radio license was granted in 1921 to WWJ in
Detroit, Michigan.  Rudolf Valentino was
a huge movie star with the silent smash hits:
“Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” and “The Sheik.”

Some other notable firsts included the first helicopter flight, the
first heavyweight boxing match aired on radio and the first live radio
broadcast of a baseball game.  Sports
talk radio took several more decades to become popular.  And the first Miss America beauty pageant
debuted in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The Miss America pageant today struggles to find a network willing to
put it on the air.

And are you wondering what other famous people were born in 1921?  Wonder no more.  Charles Bronson, Mario Lanza, Jane Russell,
Gene Rodenberry (Star Trek creator), Alex Haley (Roots author), Donna Reed,
Nancy Reagan, Jake LaMotta and John Glenn were among the many born the same
year as Jane.

The biggest selling perfume in history, Chanel No. 5 was introduced on
5/5 in France, Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize for his Theory of Relativity
and Woodrow Wilson won the Nobel Peace Prize.
The dial telephone and polygraph machine were invented and the first
coast-to-coast telephone call was placed.
Last year saw a 25% decrease in the use of land lines world-wide and
some countries have no land lines…only cell phones.

Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocketry was mocked for saying
that rockets could someday go to the moon.
Can you say Space Shuttle?  In
fact the last shuttle to the moon by NASA will launch in two weeks.  After that all “short distance” outer space
tours will be run by private companies.
200 people have already placed a deposit of $100,000 to be among the
first to take a trip to outer space.  I
wonder if there will be a Grey Line tour?

Also in 1921, a Tuberculosis vaccine was introduced, FDR got polio,
Vitamins E and D were discovered and a team of doctors were the first to
extract insulin from human pancreas as a potential diabetes treatment.  A year later the researchers first
administered insulin to human patients.
We were still several years away from Botox and other “life enhancing”

In 1921 we were introduced to Betty Crocker, Eskimo Pies, Land O’
Lakes, Mounds, Baby Ruth, Wrigley’s Gum, Bandaid and the first hamburger chain
– White Castle.  Nobody apparently saw
the obvious need to put water in a plastic bottle and sell it.  The submachine gun was invented (war could
really rock now), the BBC was founded and we learned to “Walk a Mile for A

There was no television, airplanes, Internet, Computers, Smart Phones,
Email or remote controls.  No take out or
fast food, no CDs, no iTunes, no MTV and no rock and roll.  The Great Depression was still a few years
away and the 20s were Roaring.  It was a
great time to be born.

In fact income was $2,134 per year, a car cost $420, a house cost
$7,019, bread was 10 cents a loaf, a gallon of gas was 11 cents, a stamp was
two cents and milk was 59 cents a gallon.
Babe Ruth hit 59 steroid-free home runs and it only cost $1 for a
ticket.  Today the average price of a
ticket to a baseball game is $19.  A
movie in 1921 was 25 cents, and you got to see a double feature, newsreel and
trailers.  Plus popcorn and a drink was
another 20 cents.  My oh my.

Certainly much has changed since 1921.
One thing has never changed.  Jane
Wood Hoffard is a wonderful person and I love her more today than ever.


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