Grace Under Pressure: Jackie Robinson

If we only thought of him as an athlete, Jackie Robinson would still deserve our remembering him. He was named baseball’s rookie of the year in 1947. Two years later, with a batting average of .342, and 37 stolen bases to his credit, the National League named him its most valuable player. He played in every All-Star Game between 1949 and 1954, as well as in six World Series.

‘Jackie Robinson’ documentary premieres on PBS
April 11-12, 2016

Below, co-directors Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon, discuss their new film Jackie Robinson.

But his greater accomplishment was achieving this under the intense scrutiny and hostility aimed at the first black man in Major League Baseball.

Many Americans opposed the introduction of black players into the league — for 60 years, the sport was played only by white men. And not all the opposition came from fans. The introduction of black players into Major League Baseball provoked a storm of opposition in the upper echelons of the baseball leagues. As Arthur Mann wrote in “The Truth About the Jackie Robinson Case”:

The general public never did realize just how violent a storm it was. Jackie Robinson came into the Brooklyn organization over the expressed opposition of much of baseball’s top brass. There were official prophecies of rioting and bloodshed. Various ballplayers engaged in undercover protest movements.

Mann’s article, appearing in the May 13, 1950, Post, gave readers a unique insight into the drama. He was an assistant to Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who recruited Robinson. Rickey’s idea was to bring Robinson up from a blacks-only team in Missouri to play for Montreal, then—if Robinson looked like he could handle the pressure—to the Dodgers.

The real question was not whether Robinson could play to the Dodgers’ standards, but whether he could handle all the extracurricular pressures—the opposition, taunting, and isolation that would greet the first black player. Rickey sent his manager, Clyde Sukeforth, to set up a preliminary meeting for August 28, 1945.

It was hardly surprising that Jackie Robinson was skeptical when Clyde Sukeforth first approached him in Chicago. There was skepticism on Sukeforth’s side too. Jackie had just injured that questionable throwing arm, tumbling headlong on his shoulder during a game. But Sukeforth felt that Robinson was good enough to bring in. He had checked well in all departments, particularly off the field.

Robinson had a good American-boy background—poor parents, working his way through school, tremendous athletic achievement, college experience at UCLA, Army service with an honorable discharge as a lieutenant in the cavalry, professional-football experience, track and field achievements, and a record as one of the great basketball stars on the Pacific Coast.

Jackie Robinson, accompanied by Clyde Sukeforth, appeared in Branch Rickey’s office in Brooklyn on the afternoon of August 29, 1945. Rickey rose from his chair behind the mahogany desk as they entered. He came out from behind the desk, held out his hand and said, “Hello, Jackie.”

Robinson was wary. He had heard a lot about Rickey, read considerable about Rickey, and much of it was unflattering. What did the man want? What, if anything, would he give in return? Finally, Rickey spoke.

“Do you have a girl, Jackie?” he asked unexpectedly.

Robinson opened his mouth to answer, but the words wouldn’t emerge. Finally he said, “I don’t know.”

“What do you mean, you don’t know?” Rickey

“Well,” Robinson stammered, “the way I’ve been traveling around the country and not writing as I should—well, I don’t know if I have a girl or not.”

“Of course you have a girl,” Rickey scoffed, “and you need one. You ought to marry her quick as you can. But sit down. Make yourself comfortable. We have a lot of things to talk about, and we’ve got plenty of time to do it.”

With that, Robinson settled into an overstuffed leather chair that somehow failed to relieve his uneasiness.

“Are you under contract to the Kansas City Monarchs?” Rickey challenged.

“No, sir,” Robinson replied quickly. “We don’t have contracts.”

Rickey nodded and his bushy brows mashed into a scowl. He toyed with his ever-present cigar, trying to find the right words for the beginning.

“Do you know why you were brought here?” he asked suddenly.

Robinson’s head moved from side to side. “Not exactly,” he murmured. “I heard something about a colored ball team at Ebbets Field. That it?”

“No. That isn’t it. You were brought here, Jackie, to play for the Brooklyn organization. Perhaps on Montreal to start with, and—”

“Me? Play for Montreal?” the player gasped.

Rickey nodded. “If you can make it, yes. Later on—also if you can make it—you’ll have a chance with the Brooklyn Dodgers.”

Robinson could only nod at this point.

“I want to win pennants and we need ballplayers!” Rickey whacked the desk for emphasis. “Do you think you can do it? Make good in organized baseball?”

“If — if I got the chance,” Robinson stammered.

“There’s more here than just playing,” Rickey warned. “I wish it meant only hits, runs and errors—things you can see in a box score. You know, Jackie,” he mused, “a baseball boxscore is really a democratic thing. It doesn’t say how big you are, or how your father voted in the last election, or what church you attend. It just tells what kind of a ballplayer you were that day.”

“Isn’t that what counts?” the player ventured.

“It’s all that ought to count! Maybe someday it’s all that will count. That’s one of the reasons why you’re here, Jackie. If you’re a good enough ballplayer, we can make a start in the right direction. But it will take a lot of courage.”

“Yeah,” Robinson whispered. “It sure will.”

Sukeforth said, “It might take more courage for the Brooklyn management than for you, Jackie. Have you thought of that?”

Robinson shrugged. “I haven’t thought of anything. It’s all so sudden. It kind of hits me between the eyes.”

Rickey turned to Sukeforth. “Do you think he can take it, Clyde?”

“He can run. He can field. He can hit,” the scout said.

“But can he take it?”

“That I don’t know.”

Then began an extraordinary scene. Rickey leaned close to Jackie and spoke with a crescendo of feeling. “You think you’ve got the guts to play the game, no matter what happens? They’ll throw at your head!”

“Mr. Rickey,” Robinson said bitterly, “they’ve been throwing at my head for a long time.”

Rickey’s voice rose, “Suppose I’m a player in the heat of an important ball game!” He drew back and prepared to charge at him. “Suppose I collide with you at second base! When I get up, I yell, ‘You dirty black—'” He finished the excoriation and then said calmly, “What do you do?”

Robinson blinked. He licked his lips and swallowed. “Mr. Rickey,” he puzzled, “do you want a ballplayer who’s afraid to fight back?”

“I want a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back!” Rickey exclaimed almost savagely. He paced across the floor again and returned. “You’ve got to do this job with base hits and stolen bases and fielding ground balls, Jackie. Nothing else!”

He moved behind his big desk again and faced the cornered Robinson. He posed as a cynical clerk in a Southern hotel who not only refused sanctuary but handed out invective. What would Robinson do? He posed a prejudiced sports writer, ordered to turn in a twisted story. How would Robinson answer the sports writer? He ordered the player from imaginary dining rooms. He jostled him in imaginary hotel lobbies, railroad stations.

“Now I’m playing against you in the World series!” Rickey stormed, and removed his jacket for greater freedom. “I’m a hotheaded player. I want to win that game, so I go into you, spikes first. But you don’t give ground. You stand there and you jab the ball into my ribs and the umpire yells, ‘Out!’ I flare — all I see is your face — that black face right on top of me. So I haul off and I punch you right in the cheek!”

An oversized white fist swung through the air and barely missed Robinson’s sweating face. The dark eyes blinked, but the head didn’t move.

“What do you do?” Rickey roared.

The lips trembled for an instant, and then opened. “Mr. Rickey,” he whispered, “I’ve got two cheeks — is that it?’

Rickey nodded and blinked away the mist from his own eyes.

You don’t have to be a fan of baseball to appreciate what Robinson accomplished. Again and again, through that season and the next, he rose above his own doubts and those of his critics to show what grace under pressure looked like. In his first game as second baseman for Montreal, Robinson appeared before 25,000 people in Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, for his first official contest in organized baseball.

He opened in very humble fashion. In his first time at bat, he swung at a three-and-two pitch and grounded out to short. Then he muffed an early throw for an error on a potential double play, and not only lost both men but permitted a runner on third to score.

But then the fun began. In his second time at bat, with two Royals on base in the third inning, Jackie drove a hall into the left-field bleachers for a home run. In the fifth inning he bunted toward third and beat it out for a hit.

He stole second, went to third on an infield out and so tantalized the Jersey City southpaw, Warren Sandel, that the rookie balked and permitted Robinson to score. Jackie singled cleanly to left in the seventh, stole second and scored on a single. He bunted safely once more in the ninth, went to third on a single, and again so annoyed the pitcher that a balked permitted him to score. Montreal won, 14 to 1. Most of the 25,000 spectators stormed the field after the game, and it took Robinson five minutes to reach the clubhouse.

While this triumph was in the making, Robinson’s bride of a few months, his sweetheart from UCLA days, was wandering through the large crowd, her ears picking up the assorted comments, threats and intimations. She heard enough to frighten the daylights out of her. If this was the sentiment in Jersey City, she thought, what would it be like in Baltimore?

Though his performance on the field in Baltimore was not quite so outstanding, Robinson did have another impressive day. The Baltimore fans didn’t like him at first, and said so with cat-calls and jeering. But his speed afoot and his accurate bat won most of them over, and before the game was ended, they were cheering him loudly.

Occasionally, Robinson learned, to his relief, that he wasn’t the only player with guts.

One barrage was halted in 1947 with amazing suddenness, just as it got into full swing. The whole rival team started on Jackie, his color, his antecedents, his fans and his immediate family. And then out of nowhere came little Wee Reese from the shortstop position. The Kentuckian jogged across the grass and stood talking with the Negro.

“My head was swimming, and I don’t recall what he said,” Jackie declares. “Or even if he said anything. All I know is that the bench just went silent. And stayed silent. I’ll never forget Pee Wee for that.”

Classic Covers: The Art of Impressing Girls

Okay, supposedly little boys don’t like little girls. They why do they go to so much trouble to impress them? With Valentine’s Day approaching, these Post covers show how to win a girl’s heart – or not.

Making Faces by Frances Tipton Hunter

Making Faces by Frances Tipton Hunter
Making Faces
Frances Tipton Hunter
July 10, 1937

Oddly enough, these adorable little girls seem charmed by the goofy face the boy is making. Hint #1 guys: ladies adore a sense of humor. Artist Frances Tipton Hunter did eighteen Post covers, mostly of kids so darn cute you want to pinch their little cheeks. If you haven’t had your quota of cute for the week, look this artist up at

Hockey Waits, Tying Skates by Alan Foster

Hockey Waits, Tying Skates by Alan Foster
Hockey Waits, Tying Skates
Alan Foster
December 17, 1927

Okay, now I get it: boys just act like they hate girls because their friends will razz them otherwise. At least that was the case in 1927. That’s the price this young man is paying for being the gentleman and helping milady tie her skates. Second hint, fellows: ignore the guys and just go for it. Many of artist Alan Foster’s nearly thirty covers look a great deal like Rockwell’s.

She’s My Girl! by J.C. Leyendecker

She's My Girl by JC Leyendecker
She’s My Girl
JC Leyendecker
September 28, 1935

She’s my girl! Barely past the toddler stage, this young lady is already breaking hearts. This tip must be to fight for what you want, but couldn’t they both just walk her to school? This is from 1935 by J.C. Leyendecker.

Schoolboy Crush by Charles A. MacLellan

Schooboy Crush by Charles A. MacLellan
Schoolboy Crush
Charles A. MacLellan
January 17, 1914

Next hint: don’t put your heart out there too soon. If you can’t read it, his chalkboard says “I Love You”. We dug clear back to 1914 for this cover by artist Charles A. MacLellan. Personally, Red, I think you’re too nice for a snooty girl like her, anyway. MacLellan is another artist I’ve often mistaken for Rockwell.

No Money for her Soda by Frances Tipton Hunter

No Money for her Soda by Frances Tipton Hunter
No Money for her Soda
Frances Tipton Hunter
June 6, 1936

Two tips here, gentlemen: DO take her out and show her a good time, like treating her to an ice cream soda. However, DO NOT forget your money. I never know whether to laugh or cry at the look on the boy’s face as he digs in his pocket. This was another cover by Frances Tipton Hunter that I can never resist.

Little Spooners by Norman Rockwell

Little Spooners by Norman Rockwell
Little Spooners
Norman Rockwell
April 24, 1926

Leave it to Norman Rockwell to give guys the best tip of all: do romance the lady. A fine example of that is this mutual admiration of the sunset. The poor little pup would rather go fishing, but a man has to have his priorities. This is a Rockwell classic from 1926.

Questions about Saturday Evening Post covers? E-mail: [email protected] or leave a comment below.

Sweet Root Casserole with Dried Fruit

Enjoy one of the many fresh and innovative recipes in Terry Walters’ new book, Clean Start: Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well.

Sweet Root Casserole with Dried Fruit
Makes 8 servings

Sweet Root Casserole with Dried Fruit
Sweet Root Casserole with Dried Fruit

Terry Walters, author of the blog Eat Clean Live Well, reinvents one of her favorite childhood casseroles, tzimmes, with even more irresistible seasonal vegetables.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Chop sweet potatoes, parsnips and carrots into 1-inch chunks and place in 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Add onion, prunes, cherries and ginger and toss to evenly distribute ingredients. In separate bowl, combine orange juice, maple syrup, lime juice, arrowroot, nutmeg, lemon zest and salt. Whisk to combine ingredients and pour evenly over vegetables. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven, remove foil and baste. Return uncovered casserole to oven and bake another 15 minutes. Remove from oven, toss vegetables again to recoat with sauce and serve.

How to Pick a Personal Trainer

Trainers are not one-size-fits all, and it’s important to know how to pick the right one for you, says Alexis Peraino, M.D., a physician at the Cedars-Sinai Center for Weight Loss who selects the personal trainers for the center’s referral list and also has a degree in exercise physiology.

“I see again and again in my practice that patients don’t choose the right workout routine for them,”  she says. “The result is often injuries or boredom – both of which lead to less physical activity rather than more.”

Here are Dr. Peraino’s steps to a personal trainer who can help you reach new levels of intensity—and keep you accountable for your physical activity goals.

1. Conduct a tough-minded interview with potential trainers.

Ask potential candidates about their professional background. Also, know your own fitness goals – is it losing weight or increasing lean body mass?

“Match your trainer’s past experience to your current needs,” Peraino advises. “If you have a specific health issue – like arthritis or a back injury, or you’re overweight, or obese – ask how they address those issues in their workouts.”

Request references, then speak with past clients. Also confirm their qualifications. Current certifications are proof of training and a commitment keep abreast of the latest science and trends in fitness. Among the most respected credentials are: American College of Sports Medicine, National Academy of Sports Medicine, and the American Council on Exercise. And remember to discuss practical logistics questions: Does the trainer’s availability match yours? What’s their cancellation policy?

2. Expect the trainer to interview you.

Trainers should raise their own questions about your fitness level and whether you can exercise safely. They should ask about medical conditions, medications, previous injuries, and surgeries that may relate to physical activity. Top trainers often offer an assessment that demonstrates they understand the risks of exercise for their clients and their ability to appropriately determine clients’ health and fitness.

3. Find a trainer skilled in various types of exercise.

Boredom is the enemy of fitness. Good trainers know many ways to work the same muscles and can vary the workout with fun and different activities like weight training, Pilates, yoga, and martial arts.

4. Make the most of your training time.

Your trainer should assist you with a proper warm up and cool down, as well as with exercises to build flexibility. And no workout is complete unless you’ve raised your heart rate and challenged your muscles. Be sure your trainer also gives “homework”—exercises you can do on your own to help develop into healthy habits.

“The best trainers provide you with an education, suggesting workouts you can do on your own and that will be sustainable beyond your sessions together,” Peraino explains.

5.  Beware the salesman. Clients often need to change their diet in order to meet fitness goals. While trainers can offer counsel on dietary topics,  be wary of those too eager to ignore the exercise regimen while huckstering specific supplements, protein drinks, or fat burners. There are no “miracle” products or pills on the market: fitness requires old-fashioned, hard work.

“When you screen carefully, personal training can be an excellent investment in fitness,” Peraino concludes. “Remember that your investment doesn’t need to break the bank. The most expensive trainers aren’t necessarily the best. Many trainers will consider semi-private sessions so you can split the cost with a friend. Just be sure that friend has needs and goals that are similar to yours.”

The Eventual Triumph of Duke Ellington

Every January 23, one of the great anniversaries in America’s music slips by without much attention. It was on this date, in 1943, that Duke Ellington held his first Carnegie Hall concert.

It was the first Carnegie program dedicated entirely to the compositions of a black composer. It was also one of the first attempts to bring jazz tried into the world of serious “art music”—the realm of experimental music where new rhythms, sounds, and styles are attempted.

This was still a radical idea in 1943, when the musical world was a land with well defined borders. Jazz was still classified as “popular” music, principally intended for dancing not listening.

In 1924, George Gershwin had tried to merge jazz and classical traditions with his “Rhapsody in Blue.” The critics of important periodicals had tossed him a few crumbs of praise but had generally dismissed the work.

Almost twenty years later, they were no more generous to Ellington after his Carnegie concert, though Maurice Zolotow, who wrote “The Duke of Hot” for the Post that August noted that the Duke has plenty of prestigious admirers. Just before the concert began, Ellington was presented with a plaque honoring his contributions to music. It was signed by Leopold Stokowski, Artur Rodzinski, Fritz Reiner, Deems Taylor, and others — America’s foremost conductors and musicologists.

At this concert Ellington gave the world premiere of his “Black, Brown and Beige,” the longest swing tune ever written. It lasted forty-five minutes and stunned the Carnegie Hall audience. Ellington described it as a tone poem, a musical history of the Negro in America from slavery to the present time.

The music critic of the New York Herald Tribune remarked the next morning, “Duke Ellington is the only jazz musi­cian whose programs have enough musi­cal interest to be judged by the same standards one applies to art music.” The critic of the Harlem People’s Voice stated, “He is the articulate spokesman for the existence of a new Negro with a new point of view.” And the jitterbug viewpoint was less sedately expressed in Downbeat. The jive periodical head­lined: DUKE KILLS CARNEGIE CATS!

Generally, though, the critics were dismissive. Ellington filed the work away and never recorded it. But he never abandoned his goal of breaking new ground for jazz and enabling it to express the spirit of his times and his people.

America never doubted his mastery of the popular melody.

The man, who is considered by musicians themselves to be the supreme master of the music that swings, has composed some 950 tunes, including “Black and Tan Fantasy,” “Solitude,” “Mood Indigo,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “In a Sentimental Mood,” and his current hit, “Don’t Get Around Much Any More.”

But a growing number of music lovers, especially symphonic composers of the time, were fascinated by the innovation they heard within his works.

Some of Ellington’s most advanced jazz compositions—“Reminiscing in Tempo,” which takes up four sides on records, or “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue,” which takes up two sides—require two or three attentive listenings until they make sense, and a num ber of critics compare the later Ellington to Stravinsky and Ravel.

Stravinsky himself compares Ellington to Stravinsky, and when the ultramodern Russian com­poser visited New York several years ago and was asked by a reception committee what he wished to see in the metropolis, he replied that the first thing he wanted to do was to chase up to Harlem and hear Duke Ellington’s magnifique jazz symphonies at the Cotton Club. The reception committee had never heard of the Cotton Club.

European audiences, which were hearing Ellington’s music for the first time, responded as if these works were the next development in the classical tradition. When Ellington performed overseas, he found

The programs were annotated in scholarly style. The critics read ponderous implications into his tunes. After a concert in Utrecht, Holland, a Dutch critic wrote concerning a number called “The Mooche”: ‘I feel in this piece a conflict of two elemental forces: the one the violence of Nature, which is in an eternal struggle with the other, the force of Man, a more melan­choly, restrained and mental force.’

Ellington was pleased, and bemused, by these interpretations. The true inspiration of his increasingly complex music, he readily told anyone, came out of the history and experience of black Americans.

“People think,” Ellington likes to ex­plain, “that Negro music is different mainly because of the strong rhythm. But they don’t appreciate that the Negro, besides being full of the beat-beat-beat, also has terrific changes of mood and changes of pace, and he has greater ex­tremes of emotion and quicker changes of mood than other groups of people. And that is what our music expresses. And that is why I suppose it seems com­plicated to some people. Well, the Negro is a complicated person; that’s what some people don’t understand.”

It’s difficult now to get a sense of how Ellington and other jazz musicians—both black and white—re-defined American culture. The adventurous, explorative style of jazz—dismissed by Ellington’s 1943 critics as “formless and meaningless” and “too complex”—has become one of our greatest contributions to world culture. As described at this week’s White House jazz concert for Chinese president Hu Jintao, it is “quintessentially American.”

Classic Covers: A Window on Winter

There is an up side to winter weather – looking at it through a window from the inside, as these covers from 1925 to 1962 show.

These are my favorite windows applications.

By the Fire – Walter Humphrey

By The Fire by Walter Humphrey
By The Fire
Walter Humphrey
January 27, 1934

This was the last of seven Post covers by artist Walter Humphrey from 1921 through 1934. Although he was known for his beautiful paintings of the colonial era, his Post illustrations show more modern topics, such as his 1923 covers of a boy practicing his putting and a young lady speeding in her roadster. This cozy cover of man and best friend by the fire makes me want to build a fire and veg out.

Snowy Night – E.M. Jackson

Snowy Night by E.M. Jackson
Snowy Night
E.M. Jackson
January 5, 1929

This lady is also warming herself by the fire while the weather outside is frightful. Her lovely fringed shawl is a treat. Artist E.M. Jackson did nearly fifty-eight covers for the Post and Country Gentleman, often with an architectural feature such as this beautiful window. There was a reason for that: the artist graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in architecture.

Rain and Melting Snow – George Hughes

Rain and Melting Snow by George Hughes
Rain and Melting Snow
George Hughes
January 31, 1959

The people looking out this window regret that it is NOT snowing. Instead of the ten-inch base with an anticipated two inches of new powder, the thermometer took a turn for the warmer, melting the snow instead of adding to it. Artist George Hughes was a big name in Saturday Evening Post covers, doing 115 great ones. If you’re into skiing history, another big name was Austrian skier, Sig Buchmayr. He’s the dark-haired man in the red sweater among the would-be skiers here.

Birdtalk – Gyo Fujikawa

Birdtalk by Gyo Fukikawa
Gyo Fujikawa
January 6, 1962

Is the budgie in the cage longing to be out or is the wren out in the winter weather thinking that cozy cage looks good? Well, the grass is always greener…even if it is covered with snow. In spite of her Japanese name, Gyo Fujikawa (1908-1998) was an American artist well known for children’s book illustrations and one lovely Saturday Evening Post cover. Another claim to fame: she was the artist behind the adorable round-faced Eskimo child on Eskimo Pies (which sounds darn good right now, even if it is cold outside). When this cover ran in 1962, Post editors noted that the original had been stolen. I haven’t been able to find out if it was ever recovered, so if anyone out there knows, e-mail me! ([email protected]). And yes, reprints are available at

Snow Birds – Charles A. MacLellan

Snow Birds by Charles A. MacLellan
Snow Birds
Charles A. MacLellan
March 6, 1926

In spite of the fact that artist Charles A. MacLellan did over fifty colorful covers for The Saturday Evening Post between 1912 and 1936, I can find virtually no information on him. Until someone kindly enlightens me about this artist, I’ll just enjoy covers like this pretty lady making sure the snow birds have enough to eat. If you have a question on a Post cover, drop me an e-mail or comment below.

Banana Sunflower Cookies

Banana Sunflower Cookies
(Makes 3 dozen)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Stir together flour, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine mashed banana, peanut butter, molasses, and egg. Stir until blended. Add dry ingredients and sunflower seeds to banana mixture. Stir just until all dry ingredients are moistened. Do not beat. Drop batter by spoonfuls, 2 inches apart, on oiled cookie sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Recipe from The Saturday Evening Post Fiber & Bran Better Health Cookbook, © The Saturday Evening Post Society. All rights reserved.

Flu-Buster Foods

Everyday foods can flex their chemical muscles and help you stay healthy this flu season, according to Carl Germano, a New York registered clinical nutritionist, researcher, and author with more than 30 years experience in complementary nutritional therapy and product development.

Top “Flu Buster” Foods

Honorable mentions: Fish for omega 3’s, nuts for zinc and selenium, sweet potatoes for beta carotene, and citrus fruits for vitamin C are all important nutrients that support a healthy immune system.

“Daily exercise, healthy diet, supplements, being hydrated, and getting adequate rest, help provide a potent arsenal to prevent the flu,” says Germano, who is also Chief Science Officer for Surgex. “Another healthy tip that can never be said enough?  Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently!”

When is the Flu Contagious?

Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than seven days. Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some persons can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Who Should Get a Flu Shot?

Nearly everyone. For the first time, the CDC is recommending that everyone over six months old be vaccinated  to protect themselves and others from flu symptoms and complications that can put the heart, liver, kidneys, intestines, and brain at risk.

The Deathless Legacy Of Sargent Shriver

Sargent Shriver’s health failed him before he could celebrate the Peace Corps’ 50th birthday this March. He died January 18th, at the impressive age of 96. Given a choice, he probably would not have wanted a eulogy as much as promotion for the cause so close to his heart.

So we quote today from a Post article —“The Peace Corps: Making Friends for America.” Even in 1982, with the country’s culture wars just starting to heat up, the program enjoyed broad (we could even use the word “bipartisan”) support among public figures.

There are President Reagan and [recently appointed Peace Corps] Director Loret Miller Ruppe. Then, John F. Kennedy. “Miss Lillian” Carter. Bill Moyers. The King of Tonga. Senator Paul Tsongas. Father Hesburgh. Sargent Shriver. Unlikely allies, but all linked through one strong common interest.

Shriver was the founding director of the Corps—which began in 1961—and served under his liberal Democrat brother-in-law. President Kennedy, who originally proposed the organization in his campaign promises. Ruppe, President Reagan’s Peace Corps head, is—like her chief—a conservative Republican. Yet both directors testify to the enthusiastic backing of their chief executives, 20 years and political poles apart. Both directors won their White House standing through vigorous and successful election campaigning.

Today, Ruppe… is confident that the Peace Corps is on the threshold of a new era of growth and public recognition, fully in harmony with President Reagan’s philosophy of expanding the private-sector role in serving the public good. But it isn’t easy, especially since the Peace Corps has had such a low profile in recent years that many people, even in government-centered Washington, assume that it was one of those “nice ideas” that was abandoned long ago.

Over the past two decades, the Peace Corps has enlisted and sent out to 90 countries more than 85,000 volunteers.

Today, those numbers have grown 139 countries, and the total number of volunteers is nearly 250,000,000.

Wherever former Peace Corps volunteers live and work, they are symbols of caring concern, inclined to be active in community service and, inevitably, bridges between their hometown neighbors and visitors and immigrants from abroad. Some outside observers— and many of the volunteers themselves —believe that one of the main achievements of the Peace Corps has been the expanded and enriched education, experience and global understanding it has provided for those who have had PC assignments abroad.

However true that may be, the chief purpose of the Peace Corps today, as in the past, is to help other people in the poorer, less developed countries help themselves.

When the conservative government of Ronald Reagan arrived in Washington, there was a widespread belief that foreign aid would be drastically slashed, if not abolished. It didn’t quite happen that way. Despite initial proposals by the Office of Management and Budget for cutting the A.I.D. budget in half, and reducing the Peace Corps funding by about one- fourth, bipartisan support for maintaining a substantial assistance program won out. The Peace Corps allocation was held to $105 million. This represents, in actual value of the dollar, only about half the $114 million available to the Corps in 1966, when it had some 15,000 volunteers on duty in more than 70 countries.

In 2010 dollars, that 1966 budget would be about $700 million. In actual 2010 dollars, though,  the budget for the Peace Corps is now $400 million.

Loret Ruppe sees the entire Peace Corps operation as a prudent national investment of long-term benefit to the countries being helped, to the interests of the United States and to the peace of the world. She is thoroughly opposed… to a hand-out approach to solving people’s problems at home or abroad. But the Peace Corps, she points out, is one of those down-to-earth endeavors in which the emphasis is on helping people to help themselves—and it has a track record to prove that such an approach really works.

In a speech at the Peace Corps’ 35th anniversary, in 1996, Ruppe recalled the moment President Reagan changed his attitude toward the program.

In 1983, I was invited to the White House for the state visit of Prime Minister Ratu Mara of Fiji. Everyone took their seats around this enormous table—President Reagan, Vice President Bush, Caspar Weinberger, the rest of the Cabinet, with the Prime Minister and his delegation, and myself.

They talked about world conditions, sugar quotas, nuclear free zones. The President then asked the Prime Minister to make his presentation. A very distinguished gentleman, he drew himself up and said, “President Reagan, I bring you today the sincere thanks of my government and my people.” Everyone held his breath and there was total silence. “For the men and women of the Peace Corps who go out into our villages, who live with our people.” He went on and on. I beamed. Vice President Bush leaned over afterwards and whispered, “What did you pay that man to say that?”

A week later, the Office of Management and Budget presented the budget to President Reagan with a cut for the Peace Corps. President Reagan said, “Don’t cut the Peace Corps. It’s the only thing I got thanked for last week at the State Dinner.” The Peace Corps budget went up. Vice President Bush asked kiddingly again, “What did you pay?”

Well, we know one thing: It isn’t for pay that Volunteers give their blood, their sacred honor. I can never forget those who died while I was Director. Let us never forget those who have given their lives or were disabled in service. I can never forget the sweat, the tears, the frustrations, the best efforts, and successes of thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers. I stand in awe and with the deepest respect.

Do’s and Don’ts for UGG Boots

Stylish UGGs—Australian sheepskin-lined boots—are a popular favorite of men, women, and kids to keep feet warm and dry during the chilly weather. Follow these simple tips from New York podiatrist Dr. Krista Archer, an Associate of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, to keep feet healthy, too.

1. Consider a supportive insert. UGGs are super-comfortable for many, but a lack of arch support and loose fit can sometimes cause tendonitis and heel pain.

2. Always wear socks. Bare, damp feet are prime targets for fungus and other infections.

3. Treat the outside of the boots with a product that repels stains and water. Follow product instructions carefully.

4. Treat the liner and interior of boots with anti-fungal spray once monthly.

5. Inspect the boot’s liner yearly and replace if badly worn, stained, or dirty.

6. Inspect the boot’s outer soles and heels after the cold weather season. If excessive wear is evident, look for a new pair at winter-clearance sales.

Classic Covers: Snow Days

It isn’t just rough this winter! From dodging a snowy ambush to shoveling sidewalks, the white stuff is a challenge as seen The Saturday Evening Post covers as far back at 1912.

Snowy Ambush – John Falter

Snowy Ambush by John Falter
Snowy Ambush
John Falter
January 24, 1959

Having a hard day at the office isn’t bad enough. The man in artist John Falter’s January 1959 cover seems to be entering a sort of demilitarized zone. The troops are entrenched (see the little heads behind the snow banks?) and ready to fire. The stash of snowballs shows they have enough ammo to last awhile. You have to wonder how the man gets out of this one.

Snowball Fight – J.F. Kernan

Snowball Fight by J.F. Kernan
Snowball Fight
J.F. Kernan
January 25, 1930

Never mind the neighborhood kids – watch out for the old guys! I love the ornery gleam in grandpa’s eyes as he hones in on his target. This cover is from 1930 by artist J.F. Kernan.

Plowed-Over Driveway – Earl Mayen

Plowed Over Driveway by Earl Mayer
Plowed Over Driveway
Earl Mayen
December 18, 1954

Okay, stop us if you’ve heard this before: a man arduously shovels his driveway, then along comes a snowplow… On artist Earl Mayan’s December 1954 cover, just such a scene ensues as the motorist attempts to back out, and is he steamed! If only some of that steam could melt snow…

Boy Shoveling Snow – Charles A MacLellen

Boy Shoveling Snow by Charles A Maclellen
Boy Shoveling Snow
Charles A Maclellen
January 25, 1930

It’s hard enough to shovel a sidewalk without dodging snowballs. In this cover of January 1912, the boy is probably debating dropping the shovel and firing back. Give a hard-working boy a break!

Snow Shoveler Ringing Doorbell – Eugene Iverd

Snow Shoveler Ringing Doorbell by Eugene Iverd
Snow Shoveler Ringing Doorbell
Eugene Iverd
January 3, 1931

An enterprising young man (and dog) is ringing doorbells on artist Eugene Iverd’s January 1931 cover. The snowfall seems to have brought about a budding business enterprise. If you know someone looking for prints of boys doing all their boy things, look up artist Eugene Iverd at – great covers!

Shoveling Floral Shop Sidewalk –John Falter

Shoveling Floral Shop Sidewalk by John Falter
Shoveling Floral Shop Sidewalk
John Falter
February 28, 1948

The weather outside is frightful, but inside the flower shop it is spring! Artist John Falter did a beautiful painting of contrasts for the February 28, 1948 cover. Inside are the pinks, yellows and reds of blossoms; outside is dirty old New York snow. The poor policeman on the beat looks miserably frozen, but maybe the shop window is to give us hope. The snow can’t last forever, right?

Remembering Stan ‘The Man’ Musial

[Originally published January 15, 2011.]

All concentration, still sturdy on the aging legs, still sharp of eye, Musial takes one tight.
All concentration, still sturdy on the aging legs, still sharp of eye, Musial takes one tight.

We’ve come to believe that character comes with quirks, that you can’t achieve without eccentricity, arrogance, or some type of peculiarity. If that’s true, though, how do you explain Stan Musial? An extraordinary ball player, he is generally known as an all-around nice guy, a baseball hero who’s a decent, likeable person. One sports writer has called him one of the last untarnished icons in baseball history.

Late in 2010, the White House announced it would present the 90-year-old Musial with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our highest civilian honor.

The Post dedicated a fair amount of print to “the man,” and from a 1942 article called “Rookie of the Year” to an editorial announcing the approach of his last game, we covered the professional and personal side of this beloved baseball player.

Post writer Furman Bisher gave readers a glimpse of a nonchalant but confident champ.

Opening day had drifted into night, the St. Louis Cardinals had defeated New York’s pre-eminently defeatable Mets and now, at Toots Shor’s restaurant Stan Musial was sitting at a big table talking baseball,” wrote Furman Bisher for the Post in May 1963. “‘Yeah,’ he was telling Joe E. Lewis, the comic, and Shor, the proprietor, ‘we got a pretty good club. Good club, you know?’ Then someone who had not been in the stands for the 25th opening day, in the incredible career of Stanley Frank Musial, approached, ‘Get any hits, Stan?’ the stranger asked.

A look of mild surprise crossed Musial’s sharp features, ‘Sure,’ he said, ‘Of course, I got one.’ It was, Musial seemed to be hinting, a rather foolish question. Get any hits. Stan? Got any girls’ phone numbers in this town, Mr. Sinatra?

In the quarter century since he became a professional, Stan Musial has made 3,545 major-league hits, including his opening-day single against the Mets. That’s what he does better than anyone else in his time—make hits. They come so regularly and Musial treats them with such outward nonchalance that anyone might think they were routine. But Musial is now 42 years old. There is absolutely nothing routine about a 42-year-old man slugging a baseball that has come hurtling toward him at 95 miles an hour.

The Post article, “The Mystery of Stan Musial” from 1954 discussed the myth that “the only interesting thing about him is his ball playing.” Despite the fact that he was the highest-paid player in National League history “fans know less about what he’s really like than they do about most colorful rookies.” That salary, by the way, was $80,000 a year.

One reason he was a mystery was simple: he wasn’t a troublemaker.

He has not disregarded training rules with the reckless abandon of a Babe Ruth, once fined $5,000 for failure to keep in shape. He has not feuded with sports writers and spectators in the manner of a Ted Williams. He has not held himself aloof with the intriguing moodiness of a Joe DiMaggio.” This is not to say he isn’t interesting, however. Writer Bob Broeg described him as “a bright-eyed, lighthearted thirty-three-year-old businessman who laughs heartily at all jokes, including his own, performs parlor magic tricks with a professional patter and thrives on everyday living.

Cardinals ball player signs autographs
Stan the Man
John Falter
May 1, 1954

If the Presidential Medal of Freedom is our greatest civilian honor, perhaps the greatest honor from The Saturday Evening Post was having your picture painted by one of our cover artists. Some of the fans in this 1954 cover are friends of artist John Falter, and some were lucky St. Louis kids the artist managed to get excused from school to pose with Stan the Man Musial. Said the editors, “Imagine how lucky those St. Louis models felt when they wound up with 40 revered Musial autographs. ‘Wow!’ one said in awe. ‘Will we clean up selling these at school!’” Ah, youth.

By our 1958 article “A Visit With Stan Musial,” the Cardinal veteran was considered baseballs $100,000-a-year-man. Very much the family man, he was devoted to St. Louis.

“At times baseball men have said to me, ‘If you’d been in New York or out East, with all the big publicity, you’d have made more money and everything”, Musial said. “But I always say I don’t see how I could have. I’ve been with a good organization here in St. Louis, we’ve general had winning teams. … I’ve been paid very well. My press in St. Louis has been terrific. My wife likes it even better than I do, if possible.”

The affection was mutual. In a 1957 Post article (“Baseball’s Got Me!” May 18, 1957), Cardinals’ owner, August (Gussie) A. Busch, Jr. described Musial as a close friend.

Cardinals’ owner August A. Busch, JR., with veteran Stan Musial—”one player who will never be traded.”

“After we wound up taking over the Cardinals, I continued to hunt and fish with Stan and enjoyed his company. Some baseball people didn’t think that was proper. They suggested that our relationship be changed. They advised me that a president of a team shouldn’t socialize with a player.

“I can’t think of anything in my baseball experience which bothered me more than that. I fretted about it enough to regret my investment in the team. I had begun to learn there are special ways in baseball, and I’d made up my mind to conform, but in this case I was unwilling to go along. I refused to sit still for the idea that my new position could put fetters on my personal relationships.

“For one thing, I knew Musial as a fine man and a wonderful companion. For another thing, shortly after we acquired the Cardinals, I’d make a trip around the National League with the team, and it was one of the most enriching experiences of my life. I was amazed at Stan’s contact with the fans and their feelings toward him. Wherever he went, people gathered about him. Stan always did the right thing and said the right thing at the right time. I determined right then that any organization was lucky to have such a man in its employ. He was an asset to the uniform.”

Harry T. Paxton wrote “A Visit Stan Musial” for the Post the following year (1958) and noted “although Musial doesn’t make inflammatory statements, this isn’t because he’s afraid to say what he thinks for publication.”

In his own level-headed way, Stan spoke his mind as freely as any pop-off artist, giving forthright appraisals of other leading ballplayers and opinions on a variety of topics. When it came to his pet specialty of hitting, Musial was fascinatingly expressive. He went into fine points I hadn’t known even existed. Maybe some of them don’t exist for the average big-league hitter.

In September 1963, this Post editorial ran:

A reader e-mailed that he was the young man in the T-shirt to the left, walking away with a treasured Musial autograph while his older brother is stepping up to The Man. This photo is from a 1954 Post article.

One day before this month ends, the familiar figure will come up to bat for the last time.

With that appearance Stan (The Man) Musial, by his own decision, sill bring to a close one of baseball’s classic careers. He came up to the St. Louis Cardinals before Pearl Harbor, in the summer of 1941. Since then, with time out for service in the Navy, he has broken more records than any other player in the history of baseball. He holds 17 major-league, 30 National League and nine All-Star records.

Everyone who follows big-league baseball closely has his own recollection of Stan the Man. Ours is an afternoon in 1948 at Ebbets Field, a ball park that he practically owned for many years. He went five for five that day, and every time he made a hit, he had two strikes on him. One day in 1954 he hit five home runs in a doubleheader against the Giants in St. Louis. That was probably the peak of his career.

As he bows out, we wish him well, and we extend our sympathy to those who never saw him play. Watching him in action was a treat that will not be matched.”  (“The Man Bows Out”, September 21, 1963)

Campaigning with the Kingfish

Arkansas had never seen its like before. With just days remaining in the 1932 Arkansas’ Democratic primary, Huey Long crossed the Mississippi and launched a campaigning blitz across the state that stunned voters and sent shivers through the state’s political establishment.

Seven motor trucks and Senator Long’s private automobile composed the campaign caravan. Two of the trucks were specially designed sound trunks developed by him for his Louisiana forays.

Remember as you read these excerpts from the October 15, 1932 Post that Frankin D. Roosevelt had not yet been elected president. Huey Long was the rising power in radical politics and many Americans people assumed he was an unstoppable demagogue that would destroy the country’s government and business. The media watched him with dread and fascination; he was ‘good copy’ but his ability to stir anger and sell his version of populist socialism could prove dangerous. In Arkansas, the Democratic party was about to learn just how dangerous he could be. On August 1, he brought his support to Hattie Caraway’s campaign for re-election by sweeping into Arkansas with his convoy of trucks:

Each is equipped with four amplifying horns. Inside the vehicle body are the loud­speaker panels, an attachment for play­ing phonograph records, several folding chairs, a folding table, a pitcher and glasses. On the roof of each truck is a slatted platform with two of the four amplifying horns on each side, and with nested takedown iron railings and a portable stairway. Where no speaker’s platform has been provided, the folding table is opened, and the pitcher filled with ice water and set atop, with glasses beside it and a microphone before. The stair­way is hooked into a special iron rail at the side of the truck and lo, there is a complete and commandingly placed speaker’s platform.

Naturally, Mrs. Caraway’s six opponents, accustomed to the frock-coated school of campaigning for high office, with just a dash of baby kissing, perhaps, as a concession from Olympus to the humanities, were bewildered by this high-pressure disturbance which moved across the land with such clock­like regularity, military precision and devastating efficiency. By the time they had rallied their political faculties und begun to strike buck, the damage had been done.

Hattie Caraway wasn’t just a bystander in this campaign. She quickly found her feet, spoke out, and developed her own style.

At the start of the march, one could not even properly have referred to her brief preliminary remarks as a speech. They were awkwardly couched and awkwardly delivered, a bumpy performance, which not even her shy closing remark that “I know I don’t talk like a statesman, but I’ve always tried to vote like one for you,” could quite make palatable.

Two days later she was an effective stump speaker in her own right. She had caught the knack of leading up to a climax, and then waiting for the burst of applause which is practically sure to follow when the audience is friendly. She did not need much tu­toring, for she possessed a happy gift for phrase making.

Nothing in the way of spectacular showmanship that could or would draw crowds to the meetings was over­looked, and the Arkansas electorate was jamming the highway to see and hear this much-discussed Kingfish, in the bundle compartment of whose automobile reposed, side by side, a well-thumbed Bible and a loaded atomizer of throat spray. However, the real task was not merely one of assembling crowds, but of proselyting, of evangelizing, of making converts and staunch believers out of voters to whom it had never occurred that a woman could be a serious contender for a Senate seat

So there were many, that week when Huey Long dashed over Arkansas, who came to scoff and who remained as prey. Farmers drove to town in their own automobiles—and no few of the cars were this year’s models—in such numbers that highways were con­gested in every direction. Fifteen min­utes after he began to talk, Huey Long would have these same farmers con­vinced that they were starving and would have to boil their old boots and discarded tires to have something to feed the babies till the Red Cross brought around a sack of meal and a bushel of sweet potatoes to tide them over; that Wall Street’s control of the leaders—not the rank and file—of both Democratic and Republican parties was directly responsible for this awful condition; that the only road to salvation lay in the reelection of Hattie W. Caraway.

Huey knew what worked with these voters and he delivered it better than anyone. He offered sympathy, outrage, a list of enemies to despise and heroes to admire, rounded off with old-time religion and garnished with humor.

“Think of it, my friend! In 1930 there were 540 men in Wall Street who made $100,000,000 more than all the wheat farmers and all the cotton farmers and all the cane farmers of this country put together! Millions and millions and millions of farmers in this country, and yet 540 men in Wall Street made $100,000,000 more than all those millions of farmers. And you people wonder why your belly’s flat up against your backbone!”

“You don’t have to look far as to how you can correct this condition. Herbert Hoover is calling together boards and commissions to find out what he should do about it. The only dad-blamed thing on the living face of the earth that he needs to do is read his Bible. The Lord tells us in Chapters 24, 26 and 27 of Leviticus, in Chapter 5 Of Nehemiah, and Chapter 5 of James, not only what to do but how to do it. He tells you that unless you redistribute the wealth of a country into the hands of all the people every fifty years, your country’s got to go to ruination. The trouble is we’ve got too many men running things in this country that think they’re smarter than the Lord.”

“I’m for [Winnie Caraway] like I was for an uncle of mine, the time he joined the church and got baptized… This uncle of mine was over forty, and we were all worried about him because we heard he was sit­ting in on card games at night, and if he didn’t hurry up and join the church before it got too late, he’d die an un­saved man and the devil’d get him sure. However, one time a real good preacher come through our town and preached one of these special hell-fire­-and-damnation sermons, and he scared my uncle up, so that be joined the church and offered himself as a candi­date for baptism.

Well, the next Sunday afternoon about three o’clock they took my uncle out to Dugdemona Creek to baptize him, and my aunt, his wife, was sitting on the bank with their little boy, and a big crowd was standing all around. And as the preacher led my uncle out into the waters of old Dugdemona, there floated out of my uncle’s pocket the ace of spades, face up. And a couple of steps farther, out come the king of spades and the queen, and finally the jack and ten-spot of spades following along behind.

“My aunt jumped up and flung out her arms and cried: “Don’t baptize him, parson! It’s no use! He’s lost! My husband’s lost!”

But the little boy said: ‘Now, don’t you get excited, ma. Pa ain’t lost. If he can’t win with that hand he’s got there, he can’t win at all.” And I’m here to tell you, my friends, that if we can’t win with Mrs. Cara­way’s record of standing by you people through thick and through thin, then we can’t win at all and we might just as well admit Wall Street is too strong for us.”

Previous: How the Kingfish Helped Elect the First Woman Senator

Classic Covers: Equal Time for Cats!

So many covers featured a boy and his dog. A while back, we did a feature on Rockwell dogs and recently we even showed ladies and their dogs. Well, enough I say! Equal time for cats!

Gathering Wood by John Clymer

Gathering Wood
John Clymer
January 27, 1951

Ah, the deep, cold Minnesota winter as painted by wonderful landscape artist John Clymer. If you’re wondering what the large, egg-shaped structures in the background are, as I was, they are snow-covered bales of hay. The face of the boy we can see is still enjoying the winter and the dog seems content. But notice the felines at the bottom heading in. Where there’s firewood, there must be a fire to cozy up to. Cats are my kind of people.

Seated Woman with Big Cat in Her Lap by Harrison Fisher

Seated Woman with Big Cat in Her Lap
Harrison Fisher
November 7, 1908

Here’s a beauty from 1908. Artist Harrison Fisher did over eighty Saturday Evening Post covers of lovely ladies, and this one has a bonus gorgeous feline. We showed you many Harrison Fisher ladies in stunning hats in our April cover piece, “Kentucky Derby Fashion Tips”. He was so well known for his paintings of beautiful ladies that they were known as the Harrison Fisher girls, and yes, reprints are available at

Passing the Blame by K.R. Wireman

Passing the Blame
K.R. Wireman
February 26, 1923

I couldn’t resist showing this Country Gentleman cover once more. CG was a sister publication to the Post for many, many decades. This little tot by artist K.R. Wireman has learned early to pass the buck. Well, a case could be made that the cat is black from knocking over the coal bucket, but we think the evidence points elsewhere.

Kitty Cooldown by Parker Cushman

Kitty Cooldown
Parker Cushman
September 9, 1916

On a hot day, kitty needs a turn in front of the fan, too. This adorable cover was by an artist named Parker Cushman in 1916. I can find very little about his artist, but he did three cute covers of children for the Post.

Cat Fight by Charles Livingston Bull

Cat Fight
Charles Livingston Bull
May 5, 1917

The greatest cat lovers will admit that they aren’t always adorable. Charles Livingston Bull was a great wildlife painter, and it doesn’t get much wilder than two felines going at each other. I can hear the howls now!

Cat Guards Bowl of Milk by Robert L. Dickey

Cat Guards Bowl of Milk
Robert L. Dickey
February 27, 1926

Give ‘em heck, kitty! No matter how adorable the dogs may be, this feisty kitten from 1926 is not sharing her bowl of milk. Cats are the original divas. Artist Robert L. Dickey was known for his animal paintings, particularly horses. He did six other covers for the Post, all of dogs. He certainly nailed this kitty’s attitude.

Girl and Three Cats by Sarah Stilwell-Weber

Girl with Three Cats
Sarah Stilwell-Weber
August 20, 1910

We’ve shown many Sarah Stilwell-Weber covers, but this is a nearly-forgotten one from 1910. This young lady has her hands full of cute. Stilwell-Weber was a popular artist of children and did sixty-five covers for the Post and Country Gentleman magazines between 1904-1925 (yes, each more adorable than the next).

How the Kingfish Helped Elect the First Woman Senator

American politics got boisterous in the early 1930s. With the Depression deepening, banks and businesses closing, Americans lost confidence in their leaders. They yearned for new voices with new ideas— particularly in the farmbelt and rural south, which had been hit hardest.

In Louisiana, voters turned to the radical populist Huey Long, a long-time foe of the state’s established politicians and businesses. Long served as the state’s governor from 1928 to 1932, then took his idea to “share the wealth” to Washington.

Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Senator Thaddeus Caraway died expectedly. As often happened, the governor appointed the senator’s widow to complete his term. The appointment was confirmed in a special election held on January 12, 1932, which made her the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate. According to coverage in the Post that year,

this election had been a gracious gesture on the part of the Arkansas politicos and nothing more. Had Thaddeus Caraway died three days later than he did, no election would have followed. The remainder of his term would have been filled by appointment. As is often done in similar cases, the governor would have appointed Thad Caraway’s widow.

As matters stood, however, the Arkansas politi­cians had to call an election. Not only that, but they found themselves unable to agree on which of their own number was to fall heir to the Caraway toga. Rather than come to grips over a seat which, at best, could be warmed but a year or so, the state central committee compromised by declaring Mrs. Caraway the Democratic nominee. Democratic nomination in Arkansas is tantamount to election. Mrs. Cara­way thus became the first woman elected to the United States Senate.

Hattie W. Caraway tried to be more than just a symbolic senator in her short stay in Washington, but she had little experience in public service, and few of her colleagues in Little Rock or Washington took her seriously.

Washington had never devoted much of the lime­light to Mrs. Caraway, save for an occasional special article in one or another of the newspapers, describing her as “a demure little woman who looks as though she ought to be sitting on a porch in a rocking-chair, mending somebody’s socks.”

After the Arkansas bigwigs, because of internal jealousies, selected Mrs. Caraway to serve out the remainder of her husband’s unexpired term by way of compromise, they amiably forgot all about her and focused their activities at once upon their own cam­paigns.

Six men entered the Democratic sena­torial primary. All six began to jockey for support here, there, and everywhere. Mrs. Caraway received not a second thought; not even when, at the eleventh hour, she filed her name as a candidate and enlarged the list to seven. It is doubtful that her candidacy was ever seri­ously regarded prior to August first, one week before Election Day.

And that’s when the Kingfish stepped in, bringing his powerful campaign machine and his ability to tap the seething resentment of voters.

Hattie Caraway had made an ally of Huey Long months before when the Long, freshly sworn in as senator, proposed a resolution to limit Americans’ annual income to one million dollars [roughly equivalent to $14 million today]. Any income beyond this would be turned over to the government to fund jobs programs. Such ideas obviously earned him enemies among the rich, but adulation among the poor.

Long’s resolution was greeted with polite, bemused, but firm rejection.

With a paternal smile, the Demo­cratic leader, [Arkansas] Senator Robinson, turned thumbs down on the resolution. Things then began to happen. Huey Long immediately resigned all of his committee appointments, declaring he would have no honors conferred by a party leadership, which had betrayed a party principle.

He delivered n speech, “The Doom of America’s Dream,” in which he went into detail as to what would happen to the United States if wealth were further concentrated in the hands or the few.

Few had supported Long’s resolution, but senator Hattie Caraway was among them. Long remembered this when he heard she’d announced she would seek re-election. The fact the candidate was a widow appealed to his sense his chivalry. The fact that a bank had foreclosed on her mortgage while she was in Washington stirred his outrage. And the fact that she opposed his enemy, Arkansas Senator Joe Robinson, made it a fight he couldn’t ignore. He fired up his campaign squad and, with little more than a week before the election, he hit Arkansas so hard he left it stunned.

Next: Campaigning with the Kingfish

Mending Broken Heart Valves

More than 5 million Americans suffer from heart valve disease, a condition affecting the leaflets that keep blood flowing through the heart in the right direction.

But many people are unaware they have the condition that, left untreated, can gradually put hearts—and lives—at risk.

A heart murmur may be the only sign of a problem, say experts. In most cases, the disease develops so slowly that people barely notice its symptoms.

To protect your heart, ask your doctor about testing for valve abnormalities if you experience any of the following:

▪    Shortness of breath when performing normal daily activities, exercising, or lying flat.

▪    Irregular heartbeats, a rapid heart rhythm, skipped beats or a “flip-flop” sensation in the chest.

▪    Swelling of the ankles, feet, or abdomen

▪    Fatigue, weakness, or dizziness

▪    Pressure or weight in the chest with activity or going out in cold air that is unrelated to heart attack or coronary artery disease.

Treating valve problems with prescription drugs is often effective. Those with more serious abnormalities, however, require surgical treatment to avoid heart damage and restore normal valve function.

A Scaffolding For the Heart

Around the world, more than 200,000 people have surgery to repair the aortic valve—the doorway through which oxygen-rich blood passes as it exits the heart. In addition, about 75,000 Americans have procedures to repair the heart’s mitral valve that opens into its main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, and keeps blood flowing normally through the heart.

An innovative new patch called CorMatrix ECM (extracellular matrix) allows doctors to expand an area of the heart to make room for the replacement valve, explains Marc Gerdisch, M.D., director of cardiothoracic surgery at the St. Francis Heart Center in Indianapolis. In other cases, the new material may be used for reconstructing a flap on a patient’s valve, adds the surgeon, who was the first in the world to use the ECM material to rebuild structures inside the heart.

See how ECM technology helps repair damaged heart tissue .