Happy birthday to me.
On this date in 1961, William Troy Hammond, Jr. was born in the Louisa General Hospital in Louisa, Kentucky at 8:00 PM. The hospital is now an empty lot across the street from Giovanni’s Pizza. Your author turns 52 today. I love being from Louisa but I hate change and it seems like very little in Louisa has been change for the better. The arcades, poolrooms, the Garden Theater, and most of the small, local restaurants are gone and they have not been replaced. Sure, we have Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Papa John’s Pizza but we lost Rip’s, Lula Bell’s, the Hamburger Inn, the Frostee Freeze and Hinkle’s. People used to come from all over the tri-state to eat at Hinkle’s on Sunday afternoon. Hinkle’s was where I learned to read.
I was three and Hinkle’s had a newsstand with magazines and comic books. It was standing there looking at a Batman comic at the age of 3 that it occurred to me that there were connections between the words and the action in the books. At first, it was simply realizing that Bam! or POW! represented the sound of a punch connecting and soon I had a nice vocabulary going. I started grade school in first grade just before I turned five and I graduated from high school when I was 16. I really wanted to learn, I still do.
One of the great joys of writing this blog is discovering something I did not know before. That’s also one of my great joys of teaching. As I am telling and showing kids things that they did not know, they are teaching and showing me things that I did not know. Hopefully you are a daily student just as I am.
This morning I will go in front of the Sunday school at Belle’s Chapel Free Will Baptist Church and drop change in a plate, 52 cents, one penny for every year since I was born. If I would drop change for my mental age it would be less than a quarter. I keep waiting for someone to revoke my adult card when they realize that I’m not really as old as I look. The truth is, I am 52, and I hope that I can stay young mentally until the day I leave this Earth, in maybe another 52 years. I’ve still got a lot of living I want to do and to quote the great philosopher, James Buffett, “Let the winds of change blow over my head, I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m dead.
Over five decades and I've not yet decayed.
God bless you all and happy birthday to me.
Cool things that happened on my birthday:
1550: Chocolate introduced. Go to a store that sells products from Goofy’s Candy Company.
Today is Father-Daughter Take A Walk Together Day. I walk with my daughter in various places. I have enjoyed many walks about our resorts at Walt Disney World. Get out and explore.
1802: The first comic book, “The Wasp,” is published. You can see examples of early Disney comics at One Man’s Dream at Hollywood Studios.
1846: The United States annexes California. Walt planted roots in California and founded his park, Disneyland, there. At EPCOT we have a very literal transplant from California, Soarin’. Go ride it and enjoy the experience of flying over the different landscapes of California.
1862: The Land Grant Act endows state colleges with federal land. In 1865, the University of Kentucky was established as a Land Grant College. I graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunication. If you go to the Team store in Downtown Disney (soon to be Disney Springs) you can buy a UK / Mickey Mouse shirt combining two of my favorite things.
1898: The United States annexed Hawaii. Go to The Magic Kingdom and get a Dole Whip, a pineapple Dole Whip, just trust me.
1932: Ted Cassidy was born. Ted played Lurch on The Addam’s Family. Go to The Haunted Mansion; it’s the perfect fit.
1940: In what has been my favorite fact about my birthday, Ringo Starr of The Beatles was born on my birthday in 1940. Ringo is an actor, singer, songwriter and, of course, drummer. I have played drums for over 35 years and I greatly respect Ringo who developed a unique style by being left-handed and playing on a right-handed drum kit. In 1974 Ringo had a huge hit with “You’re Sixteen” a song written by the Sherman Brothers. Ringo took his family to Disneyland in 1970 and in 1992 The Disney Channel aired a special in celebration of his 52nd birthday. Today his is 73 as I turn 52. Go to EPCOT and listen to The British Revolution, they always play a few Beatles songs.
1948: The Cleveland Indians sign Satchel Paige at the age of 42. He was also born on July 7, 1906. Paige played in the Negro Leagues before Major League Baseball joined the modern age and allowed African-Americans to play with white men. Paige was the oldest rookie in MLB and one of the greatest to ever play the game at any time in any league. You know my baseball tribute, Casey’s in The Magic Kingdom. They got our hotdog money while we were at WDW in June.
1951: Roz Ryan was born. Roz voiced Thalia in Hercules, the movie and the TV series and has contributed voices to Kim Possible and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. Go ride the Buzz Lightyear ride at the Magic Kingdom in her honor.
1958: President Eisenhower signed a bill approving Alaskan statehood. Go ride Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion; they have polar bears.
1959: Bill Campbell was born in Chicago, Illinois. Bill has had a diverse resume of characters but in our world he played the Rocketeer in The Rocketeer. I really like the movie and my friend, Beau Smith worked for Eclipse comics when they did the graphic novel of the movie. Look for Rocketeer memorabilia in the Back Lot Tour at Hollywood Studios (at least until it disappears).
1973: An all female board of directors took control of the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels. Yes, Kentucky had a professional basketball team that’s not based in Lexington and did not play in the NCAA. I’m a UK graduate; I can say such things. Once again, go to the Team store in Downtown Disney (soon to be Disney Springs).
Remember, your best excuse is always: waiting for your dreams to come true.