June 13, 2024

#ThrowbackThursday – 13 June

It’s 13 June, and that means it’s time for another edition of Throwback Thursday! Today, we’re taking a look back at three prominent events that went down on this day in history:

1920 – Ban on Baby Postage

Imagine you live a kilometre away from your daughter and her husband. One morning, you receive a visit from the postman – instead of letters or a parcel, however, he hands you your infant grandchild! Nestled in your grandchild’s pocket is a note from your daughter, who wants you to care for the tyke while she and her hubby are at work.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But up until 13 June 1920, mailing babies was not too much of a weird practice in the USA.

When the US Post Office launched its parcel service in 1913, some parents took advantage of the cheap postage rates and sent their children – with their postage stamps usually attached to their clothing – to relatives or caregivers in faraway places.

In one such reported instance, five-year-old May Pierstorff was sent by mail train to her grandparents who lived 117 kilometres away (her older cousin, a postal worker, delivered the little girl himself!).

While it may seem shocking, dangerous and perhaps callous to us now, at the time it was seen as a practical, cost-effective solution for families who couldn’t afford train or bus fares for their kids. Unfortunately for them, the practice continued until 13 June 1920, when the US Postmaster General officially banned the mailing of children due to safety concerns.

1922 – Hogged by Hiccups

Four hundred and thirty million. That is approximately how many hiccups Charles Osborne made over a 68-year period.

It all started on 13 June 1922, when Osborne – who hailed from Athon, Iowa – was working on a farm in Nebraska:

“I was hanging a 350-pound hog for butchering. I picked it up and then I fell down. I felt nothing, but the doctor said later that I busted a blood vessel the size of a pin in my brain.”

While the medical aspects of the accident and its aftermath are contested (with many attributing the accident to a stroke, while others reckon that Osborne sustained damage to his diaphragm or nervous system as a result), the farmhand was left with a severe case of hiccups that would last nearly a lifetime.

For six decades, Osborne hiccuped an estimated 20-to-40 times a minute. Although doctors far and wide couldn’t find a cure for his condition, he was said to be a jovial, fun-loving character. He also mastered a certain breathing technique so that his hiccups weren’t as disruptive to his daily life, especially when he spoke. Osborne even got a nod from the Guinness World records for the longest attack of hiccups.

Then, in February 1990, Osborne’s hiccups suddenly stopped without any explanation. For the former farmhand, it must have been a welcome miracle. Alas, Osborne lived for another 11 months – hiccup-free – when he passed away in May 1991 at the age of 97.

2003 – The Birth (and Rise) of T20

The ICC Twenty20 World Cup (T20WC) is currently underway, so what better way to celebrate this particular game format than by taking a look back at its origins!

Back in 2003, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had a problem on their hands: cricket was in a big slump. Bored audiences were dwindling away, while wary sponsors were pulling out en masse.

To return cricket to its former glory and attract a newer audience to the sport, the ECB came up with an idea: a new playing format, whereby each team faced a maximum of twenty overs.

To die-hard cricket fans, the format sounded absurd, although it could not be denied that it promised to be shorter, faster and possibly more exciting than its Test counterpart.

So, the first official T20 match was played on 13 June 2003 between the English counties of Middlesex and Surrey at The Oval in London, England.

To the surprise of naysayers, the match was a resounding success, with a sell-out crowd providing an electrifying atmosphere as both teams went all out to showcase their skills in this dynamic format of the game. By the end of the thrilling match, Middlesex had won by four wickets.

Providing a welcome boost in domestic cricket, the T20 format went international not long afterwards: in 2007, teams representing 12 countries took part in the first T20WC held in South Africa, whereby India became the inaugural champions after beating Pakistan by five runs.

Today, the T20 format has grown immensely in popularity and has become a staple in the cricket calendar. Women cricket teams have also embraced this format, with their own T20 competitions and world cups being held regularly.