The First McDonalds Restaurant Opens!

By Rick Chromey | April 15, 2021 |

“Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun.”

This famous 1970s commercial ditty put McDonalds on the map, helped by the clown Ronald McDonald, the Hamburglar and, for the Millennial generation, PlayLands. Today the “golden arches” are one of America’s most iconic visual brands.

And it all started today in Illinois, thanks to Ray Kroc.

Jackie Robinson Makes a Hit!

By Rick Chromey | April 15, 2021 |

In 1947, in many U.S. places (from Birmingham to Philadelphia, Cincinnati to Little Rock), black Americans were segregated into “ghettos” and separated in public life. In the South, especially, blacks had to use different bathrooms, eat at different restaurants (or on different chairs), sleep at different hotels, ride at the back of the bus, and go to different schools.

There was a clear and present prejudice against the black.

Jackie Robinson changed all that.

Once white America saw how Jackie “could hit that ball,” it was no longer reasonable to wink at a Jim Crow culture and tolerate racism against blacks. Times were changing.

And it all started on this date in 1947.

P.S. Today, in honor of Jackie Robinson, every major league ballplayer will wear is uniform number: “42.”

The Dust Bowl Cometh

By Rick Chromey | April 14, 2021 |

The “Dust Bowl” got its name on this date (a.k.a. “Black Sunday”) when a huge windstorm blanketed the midwest.

America was in the heart of a Great Depression at the time. Could life be more miserable? The Dust Bowl would have one benefactor: California. With news of work and a better life in the Golden State, countless Americans migrated out of the Midwest to the west coast during the 1930s.

In the decades that followed, California would continue to rise like the bear on its flag, thanks to Hollywood, Dodgers and Giants, rock and roll, citrus and surfing.

But without that Dust Bowl migration, things might’ve been much different. It’s the rest of the story.

Titanic Sinks!

By Rick Chromey | April 14, 2021 |

The sinking of the Titanic was a huge blow to industrial science and the promise of machines making life faster and better.

The Titanic was the fastest and best. It was reputed to be unsinkable, but it still sunk. For the oldest members of the Transportation and Telephone (TNT) Generation–born 1900 to 1920–this tragedy was a generational moment.

And it all happened on this fateful day.

Abraham Lincoln Assassinated

By Rick Chromey | April 14, 2021 |

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln was an unexpected first for America.

Four sitting presidents have been killed: Abraham Lincoln (1865), James A. Garfield (1881), William McKinley (1901), and John F. Kennedy (1963). Additionally, two presidents have been injured in attempted assassinations: Theodore Roosevelt (1912; former president at the time) and Ronald Reagan (1981).

Every assassination (and even attempted assassination) have been tattooed upon the generation that experienced it in its “coming of age” years (adolescence and young adulthood).

“Houston, We Have A Problem”

By Rick Chromey | April 13, 2021 |

It’s scripted like Hollywood but this tale from space produced some genuine heroes. The innovation to solve “the problem” and bring three US astronauts back to earth remains a story for the ages.

The fated mission was commanded by Jim Lovell with Jack Swigert as command module (CM) pilot and Fred Haise as Apollo Lunar Module (LM) pilot. Swigert was a late replacement for Ken Mattingly, who was grounded after exposure to rubella.

Hallelujah! Handel’s Messiah Arrives

By Rick Chromey | April 13, 2021 |

On this date in 1742, Handel’s “Messiah” debuted. Today, it’s one of the world’s most renown, loved and most performed musical works. Fast fact: The entire score was completed in 24 days…a minor miracle in its own right!

Westward Ho! The Pony Express!

By Rick Chromey | April 13, 2021 |

Did you know the fabled Pony Express was actually a massive failure? It’s true. It lasted only 18 months as a mail service. The innovations of the telegraph and railroad proved better means for transporting America’s letters to the West.

Tik Tok: Young Americans are Clocking It

By Rick Chromey | April 13, 2021 |

According to 2021 Pew Research Center, nearly half (48%) of U.S. young adults use the social media app Tik Tok.

A Russian in Space

By Rick Chromey | April 12, 2021 |

The Russians were the first to send a rocket into space, the first into space with a man and a woman (Valentina Tereshkova, 1963) and the first to do a space walk outside their capsule.

But America got the big prize. We landed on the moon and planted our flag. The only nation (so far) to do it.