John’s Believe It Or Not… March 11th

John standing at the front of his classroom.

It’s Sassy Saturday! Did you know…

* 1865 – Assembly of the Province of Canada votes 91-33 to proceed with Confederation. (At that time, the Province of Canada comprised today’s provinces of Ontario and Quebec. This vote in the elected Assembly meant that they were willing to enter into a new political union with the other British colonies, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. Confederation became reality on July 1st, 1867 when the fledgeling Dominion of Canada was born. It was still a British colony within the empire, but the Canadians had achieved control over domestic policy. Foreign policy still rested with Parliament in Britain until Canada was granted independence in 1931. This year marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation.)

Painting of a politician making a speech in the assembly

* 1997 Paul McCartney knighted. (On this day in 1997, Paul McCartney, a former member of the most successful rock band in history, The Beatles, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his “services to music.” The 54-year-old lad from Liverpool became Sir Paul in a centuries-old ceremony of pomp and solemnity at Buckingham Palace in central London. Fans waited outside in a scene reminiscent of Beatlemania of the 1960s. Crowds screamed as McCartney swept through the gates in his chauffeur-driven limousine and he answered with a thumbs-up.)McCartney has the Queen's arm.

* 1888 Great Blizzard of ’88 hits American East Coast. (On this day in 1888, one of the worst blizzards in American history strikes the Northeast, killing more than 400 people and dumping as much as 55 inches of snow in some areas. New York City ground to a near halt in the face of massive snow drifts and powerful winds from the storm. At the time, approximately one in every four Americans lived in the area between Washington D.C. and Maine, the area affected by the Great Blizzard of 1888.)

Picture of NYC street with hydro poles brought down
The Great White Blizzard of 1888: The Storm That Put NYC’s Wires Underground

* 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev picked to succeed Chernenko. (During the next six years, Gorbachev led the Soviet Union through a dizzying pace of domestic reforms and foreign policy changes. He relaxed political oppression and led the push for reform of the nation’s crumbling economic system. On the foreign policy scene, he worked hard to secure better relations with the United States, and in 1987, he and President Ronald Reagan signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which reduced the number of medium-range missiles each nation kept in Europe. The pace of change, however, might have been too rapid. By the late-1980s, the Soviet Union was cracking to pieces. Eastern European satellites were breaking free, various Russian republics were pushing for independence, and the economy was on a downward spiral. In December 1991, Gorbachev resigned as president and the Soviet Union formally ceased to exist.)Cover of TIME magazine with Gorbachev's picture

* 2004 Terrorists bomb trains in Madrid. (On this day in 2004, 191 people are killed and nearly 2,000are injured when 10 bombs explode on four trains in three Madrid-area train stations during a busy morning rush hour. The bombs were later found to have been detonated by mobile phones.The attacks, the deadliest against civilians on European soil since the 1988 Lockerbie airplane bombing, were initially suspected to be the work of the Basque separatist militant group ETA. This was soon proved incorrect as evidence mounted against an extreme Islamist militant group loosely tied to, but thought to be working in the name of, al-Qaida.)picture of the bombed out train

Look who was born on this date!

picture of Edward Albee* Edward Albee [Edward Franklin Albee III] in 1928. [American Playwright: As one of America’s greatest modern playwrights, Albee is most known for “The Zoo Story” (1958), “The Sandbox” (1959), “The American Dream” (1961), and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1962).]


headshot of Liza Minnelli* Liza Minnelli in 1946. (American Singer & Actress: Rose to international stardom for her appearance as Sally Bowles in the 1972 film version of the Broadway musical “Cabaret”, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She has won a total of four Tony Awards, an Oscar, an Emmy Award, and two Golden Globes.)


picture of Darryl Strawberry* Darryl Strawberry in 1962. [American Baseball Player:  Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Strawberry was one of the most feared sluggers in the MLB, known for his prodigious home runs and his intimidating presence in the batter’s box. He won one World Series with the New York Mets (1986) and three with the New York Yankees (1996, 1998, 1999).]




Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December, 2013, and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (, to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

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