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July 31, 2015

What’s significant about your birthday?

Joe Charlebois

July 30th, what a day of note! Really, July 30th? You mean this isn’t one of the most memorable dates you had to memorize in high school? Okay, so you have no idea what happened on July 30th. My mother will never forget. It of course was the date I was born.

Historically, July 30 was significant. In 1619 the first legislative assembly in America was held on this date. Virginia’s Gov. Sir George Yeardley called for an assembly of burgesses to meet and create a legislature. Virginia’s House of Burgesses met in Jamestown, VA, on this date and convened to write the first law in America – fixing the price of tobacco. My. my – how things have changed.

In 1956 President Dwight D. Eisenhower pushed for the words “In God We Trust” be added to paper currency. He succeeded and managed to perpetually torture those who are harmed by its continued use. It is amazing that it hasn’t been removed in this age of anti-religious fervor.

Maybe you were thinking the 30th was significant because it was the date in 1965 that President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law.  Fifty years ago Medicare came into being and opened the doors for the federal government to force socialized medicine upon the citizens of the United States.

What song was the number one song when you were born? My mother carried me through the then record heat in the summer of 1966 having to listen to The Trogg’s “Wild Thing.” I’m not sure if she ever worried if listening to the song would affect me in any way; but, as it turned out, she was safe – I was anything but. Even though no one would ever put a “Wild Thing” label on me, I am glad I can lay claim to it as my #1 song. At least it’s cool. I can’t imagine those poor souls who may be unfortunate to have been born when “Mandy” by Barry Manilow was number one.

Wow, I thought on my 10th birthday a trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo and seeing Bruce Jenner win the decathlon while setting an Olympic record at the 1976 Olympics was the ultimate present a young, red-blooded American boy could want. How we all wanted to emulate “him.” My – how things have changed.

July 30th is also the date that the Beetle died. The original Volkswagen Beetle’s final production was made on the 30th in Puebla, Mexico. Coincidentally, my first vehicle was a red 1974 VW Super Beetle with a white interior and hand-crank sunroof. My Beetle died well before 2003. It officially died when the transaxle left the transmission permanently in third gear and I couldn’t fix it.

It was an interesting vehicle. Besides using pliers to pull the accelerator cable by hand or using those same pliers to bend the timing arm so the vehicle would continue to run while moving, I could be seen driving it around the mountains of Western Pennsylvania with my head stuck out the driver side window in winter. The car’s defroster didn’t work until the vehicle was underway.

In 1999, the small budget independent film “The Blair Witch Project” was released on July 30th. It has to be one of the highest grossing film of all-time in relation to its budget. The filmed grossed an amazing $250 million worldwide. And even with it being based in the Frederick County town of Burkittsville, I have yet to watch it. As a Frederick resident, I might be required to add it to my bucket list of films to watch.

In 2015, as I celebrate my 49 birthday, I wonder how many times the 30th will make history. Celebrate another successful trip around the sun, as one of my friends put it. Even if the 30th means nothing to you, I am glad my Mom put up with the heat of July 1966 and gave birth to me.


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