Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Almanac Memories

When i was a kid, i loved to read. It was my favorite thing to do by far, and i became a book collector at an early age; i still have most of them.

Not only did i love reading, i enjoyed reading to my youngest brother. He is a math person, and has never really "loved" reading, but he enjoyed hearing stories that i would read to him each evening. By far his favorite book was The Bears Almanac by Stan and Jan Berenstain.

It was a book that went through the year in an entertaining and enlightening way, meant to teach about seasons, holidays, and weather. Facts were tucked into the pages, and it was simply fun to read.

It starred, of course, gentle Mama Bear, a little on the crazy side Papa Bear, Brother Bear, Sister Bear, and assorted friends from Bear Country. Actual Factual Bear told us about wind and rain, and Great Natural Bear let us know that real bears hibernate and wake up mighty hungry in spring, as well as how they catch salmon.

Brother Bear begins the year by clanging a bell in his parent's bedroom the morning of the 1st, as soon as he sees that it's the start of a brand new calendar. Sister Bear pops in and out of the fun. Papa Bear, of course, gets himself into trouble; my brother's favorite part was Papa Bear trying to teach Brother to fly a kite and ending up tangled in the string.

My brother let me read that book to him almost every single night, as his last story before bed.

Yes, that's one of the ones i still have, and my kids have enjoyed it, too.

It was announced that Jan Berenstain died last Friday. She'd had a stroke the day before, and never regained consciousness.

She was a
mother, a grandmother, and the co-author, with her husband and later her son, of the beloved Bear series.

They were friends of Dr. Suess, who helped them get their first book, The Big Honey Hunt, published in 1962.

Before bed tonight, i think i'll read The Bears' Almanac.

Today is:

Day of Selene -- Ancient Greek Calendar (goddess of the moon, date approximate)

Dia de Andalucia -- Andalucia, Spain

Floral Design Day -- a day to acknowledge this art form

Kalevala Day -- Finland (Finnish Culture Day)

National Chocolate Souffle' Day

National Science Day -- India

National Tooth Fairy Day - and/or August 22

Peace Memorial Day -- Taiwan

Public Sleeping Day

St. Hedwig of Poland's Day (Patron of queens)

St. Romanus' Day (Patron against drowning, insanity)

Teacher's Day -- many Arab nations

World Spay Day -- Sit! Stay! Spay! Good Owner.

Birthdays Today

Robert Sean Leonard, 1969
Gilbert Gottfried, 1955
Bernadette, Peters, 1948
Brian Jones, 1942Mario Andretti, 1940
Tommy Tune, 1939
Gavin MacLeod, 1930
Charles Durning, 1923
Zero Mostel, 1915
Earl Scheib, 1907
Vincente Minnelli, 1903
Linus Pauling, 1901
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, 1533

Anniversaries Today:

University of Pittsburgh is chartered, 1787

Today in History:

Coronation ceremony of Liu Bang as Emperor Gaozu of Han takes place, initiating four centuries of the Han Dynasty's rule over China, BC202
The first edition of Henry Fieldings' "Tom Jones" is published, 1749
John Wesley charters the Methodist Church, 1784
The first commercial railroad in US, Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) is chartered, 1827
Robert Nelson, leader of the Patriotes, proclaims the independence of Lower Canada (today Québec), 1838
Regular steamboat service from the west to the east coast of the United States begins with the arrival of the SS California in San Francisco Bay, 4 months 22 days after leaving New York Harbor, 1849
The Bulgarian Exarchate is established by decree of Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz of the Ottoman Empire, 1870
The American Telephone and Telegraph Company is incorporated in New York State as the subsidiary of American Bell Telephone, 1885
The USS Indiana, the lead ship of her class and the first battleship in the United States Navy comparable to foreign battleships of the time, is launched, 1893
Queen Ranavalona III, the last monarch of Madagascar, is deposed by a French military force, 1897
Egypt regains independence from Britain, but British troops remain, 1922
DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers invents Nylon, 1935
Basketball is televised for the first time, 1940
In Taiwan, civil disorder is put down with the loss of 30,000 civilian lives, 1947
James D. Watson and Francis Crick announce to friends that they have determined the chemical structure of DNA; the formal announcement takes place on April 25 following publication in April Nature (pub. April 2), 1953
The first-ever color television sets using the NTSC standard are offered for sale to the general public, 1954
The United States and People's Republic of China sign the Shanghai Communiqué, 1972
Andalusia approves its statute of autonomy through a referendum, 1980
GRB 970228, a highly luminous flash of gamma rays, strikes the Earth for 80 seconds, providing early evidence that gamma-ray bursts occur well beyond the Milky Way, 1997
First flight of RQ-4 Global Hawk, the first unmanned aerial vehicle certified to file its own flight plans and fly regularly in U.S. civilian airspace, 1998
Over 1 million Taiwanese participating in the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally form a 500-kilometre (300-mile) long human chain to commemorate the 228 Incident in 1947, 2004
Jupiter flyby of the New Horizons Pluto-observer spacecraft, 2007


  1. Aww.. nice tribute. My kids loved the Berenstain Bears.

  2. I have "The Bike Lesson" still. I may have to dig it up and read it again.

  3. I remember with great fondness the times I'd sit with our son on my lap while helping him read these books.

  4. Thank you for sharing your memories of these wonderful books.