By Amy Shearn
The old nursery rhyme may claim that "Wednesday's child is full of woe," but that doesn't mean you have to be. Here are 10 Wednesdays that have been full of "Whoa!"
The first Ferris wheel opens to the public at the World's Columbian Exposition
in Chicago, Illinois. Approximately two minutes into the wheel's first revolution, the first young child dropped the first handful of cotton candy from the top of the ride -- and watched as the light-as-air concoction floated 264 feet down to the ground. (Okay, we made that last factoid up. But try it this summer!)
The ship Discovery departs London on the National Antarctic Exploration, launching the career of doomed polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton who became the almost-but-not-quite first man to reach the South Pole -- and an example to all of us during those times when we get stuck in the proverbial ice.
A Pittsburgh company called P. Duff and Sons applies for a patent that will change everyone's life (and birthday) forever. It's an "invention [that] relates to a dehydrated flour for use in making pastry products and to a process of making the same." In other words, the first cake mix.
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images
The actress Maggie Smith
is born in Essex England. She will perform Shakespeare with Laurence Olivier, win an Oscar for her role in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,
appear in the Harry Potter
films and, perhaps most enjoyably of all, serve up zinger after zinger as the stodgy-yet-sassy Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, in the BBC period drama Downton Abbey
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Readers of The New Yorker are introduced to the family that makes every other clan look like the Cleavers. The Addams family members are nameless until the strip is being developed for television, when the cartoonist dubs them Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Pugsley and, of course, Wednesday.
National Baseball Hall of Fame Library/Getty Images
At precisely 3:58 p.m., baseball player Bobby Thomson
hits his "Shot Heard 'Round the World," a three-run home run that wins the pennant for the Giants over the Brooklyn Dodgers. Thomson later says, "It was the best thing that ever happened to me. It may have been the best thing that ever happened to anybody.
The space probe Mariner 4 flies by Mars, sending back the first ever photographs of the planet. While the images are groundbreaking, they show no evidence of life on Mars, disappointing countless scientists, comic book fans and David Bowie.
Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Nora Ephron's prototypical romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally
is released, exploring the eternal question, "Can men and women ever just be friends?," and introducing into our collective consciousness the refrain, "I'll have what she's having."
Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords marks the 3rd anniversary of being seriously injured in a mass shooting by skydiving. She says the jump is her way of saying, "I'm alive."
And finally, one Wednesday every year is destined to be special, thanks to La Tomatina
. Yes that's right, it's the world's largest tomato fight, and it happens every August in the town of Buñol in Valencia, Spain. About 30,000 people and about 100 metric tons of overripe tomatoes attend the festival every year.
Amy Shearn is the author of The Mermaid of Brooklyn and How Far Is The Ocean from Here.
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