Bad Days in History


In the introduction the author describes the book as being, “Plucked from all eras of history, and from around the globe, the bad in this book are intended to amuse, tantalize, and enlighten-without being predictable.”

I enjoyed reading the book.  At times I laughed at the absurdity of some of the atrocious circumstances.  At other times, I winced at the horror of it all.


Civil War – Battle for a Ferry

The Coosa River passes through Ohatchee, Alabama.  During the Civil War there was a ferry station in Ohatchee that was used to move supplies for the Confederate Army.

Part of the Northern Army had just taken Decatur, Alabama, which is located on the banks of the Tennessee River.  It also had a railroad passing through the city and a developed highway.  Decatur was a vital transportation hub at the time.

Their next battle was in Ohatchee.  They took control of the ferry and crippled transportation options going through Alabama.  It was a small battle, but it was also a devastating blow to the Confederate Army.


Blue sitting beside the Coosa River in Ohatchee, Alabama.

Museums and Party Crashing

I was driving through Sylacauga, Alabama, and I saw a local museum that looked interesting.  The museum was free and had a mix of art and historical exhibits.

There was a family reunion in the event room at the museum.  I didn’t plan to crash a party that day, but the opportunity just presented itself, so I did it.

I ended up eating some of the best macaroni and cheese I have ever tasted.  I thought about sending a letter to the museum to tell the person that set up the party how much I loved that macaroni and cheese (singed by the party crasher).

Memoirs of the Class of 1946

Yesterday, I wrote about finding a 1946 Huntsville High School yearbook at a thrift store. I was reading through it and found an essay titled “Memoirs of the class of 1946.”

It was interesting reading.  Here are a few paragraphs from the essay.

On December 7, 1941, when the Japs attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States declared war on Japan, we then realized that we were children of a war and that some of our classmates might have to go before the dark cloud of war passed over our heads.

Gasoline and sugar were rationed, but we didn’t mind the scarcity if it helped.  That year a few of our classmates went to do their share in winning the war, and we who were left behind did our share too.  We saved tin can, toothpaste tubes, collected scrap metal and were 100 percent in the purchase of stamps and bonds to help end the war quicker and bring our boys home.

The year 1945, proved to be one of the most important years in the history of the United States, as well as in the history of the graduation class of 1946.  We bought war stamps, had paper drives, and most anything we could to bring about peace.  

On the afternoon of April 12, we were working hard in preparation for a Spanish Fiesta when the news came over the radio that our president had passed away in Warm Springs, Georgia.  It seemed to knock the excitement and joy out of everyone, but we carried on as he would have wished us to do.

Then on May 7, everyone was happy to hear of the surrender of the Germans, but we couldn’t be too happy because boys were still dying in Japan.  Leaving school in June we knew that upon our return we would be dignified seniors.

Our senior year started with a bang!  The war with Japan had ended September 2, and we returned to school happy and with a feeling of peace in our hearts.

It was the first peaceful year of our high school career.  Many boys retuned from the war and started where they left off.  We were glad to have them back.

As we finish the last page of our high school history and begin a new chapter in our lives we go out into the world with a firm resolve that we will do our part in making this a better world.

As I read this essay, I was struck by their willings to sacrifice for a greater good.  These teenagers were more civic minded than most adults I know today.  I looked through the yearbook at their pictures and noticed a sense of seriousness about them.  I admire them and wonder what became of them.  I hope they were able to live out their dreams for the future.



The Long Lost Yearbook Adventure

I found a 1946 Huntsville High School yearbook at a thrift store.  I thought it was so cool, I had to buy it.

There was a name and address written on the inside cover and I wondered if her house was still standing.  My friend (Malia) and I plugged the address into the GPS and headed to downtown Huntsville, Alabama.

We were able to find the address, but I wasn’t sure if it was the house where Sally lived.  I walked up to the front door and knocked.  The owner opened the door and looked at me with a stern expression.  I introduced myself, showed her the yearbook, and explained my mission.  I was wondering if she knew when the house was built.  The current home owner became interested in my quest and we had a great conversation.

After talking with her and her neighbor, it was confirmed that the house was built in the 1920s, so this is where Sally lived 73 years ago.

I spent the rest of the evening wondering about Sally.  What ever became of her?  I am sure she never dreamed some random person would find her yearbook at a thrift store in 2019 and start researching information about her life.



Thinking at the Cemetery

The oldest graveyard in Athens, Alabama, is a block from the courthouse and is known as Old City Cemetery.  Most of the graves are unreadable and many of them have been damaged over the years.  However, the grave of John Craig received a new marker recently.  He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, so his grave has been maintained over the years.

I was sitting in the cemetery looking at his grave and wondering about his life.  His world was filled with uncertainty.  The American Colonies were going to war with England (a world super-power at the time).

If the war was lost, he could be executed for treasonous acts.  If the war was won, his world would still be filled with upheaval and unknown circumstances.  He would be living in a brand new country that was trying to establish a government.

I wonder what he must have thought about his future possibilities.  Did he think about future generations and how much his actions would effect them?  Was he afraid of the unknown future?  Was he filled with feelings of invincibility and the optimism of youth?

John Craig was fighting a war for a country that was only a dream at the time.  He was willing to die, for the idea of a free land and an independent nation.

His willingness to fight and give his life, if necessary, is still honored today.  His grave marker is maintained and replaced when needed.

Did he ever wonder if he would be remembered by generations that would be born hundreds of years in future?  Could he even imagine the idea of someone sitting at his grave thinking about his life in the year 2016?

What happened to the Neanderthals?

It was originally believed the Neanderthals were killed by humans that migrated out of Africa.  However, recent evidence from genetic studies prove humans and Neanderthals were interbreeding.

Researchers at National Geographic discovered, “the Neanderthal linage disappeared, because it was absorbed into the much larger human population.”  They found Neanderthal DNA in humans, especially in those with a strong European heritage.

Basically, the Neanderthals intermingled with humans until they were breed out of existence.



Source:  Genographic Project: