sky high

The tall boy. Robert Wadlow didn’t mind the jokes about the weather up there, but there were worse drawbacks to being the tallest man in the United States…

Alton, Illinois, a small manufacturing city on the Mississippi River twenty miles northeast of St. Louis, at dawn on the morning of February 22,1918, Washington’s Birthday. In the back bedroom of a wood-frame bungalow on Monroe Street, a son, their first child, is born to Mr. and Mrs. Harold F. Wadlow. The child, who will be named Robert Pershing Wadlow, weighs eight and a half pounds at birth and seems in every way a normal infant. Of normal parents too. His father, a construction engineer for the Shell Oil Company, is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds, while his mother is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds. There is no history on either side of anyone being unusually tall or overweight. In consequence, the Wadlow’s haven’t the slightest inkling that, astonishingly, their newborn son will someday reach a height of eight feet 11.09 inches and weight 491 pounds, and thus be the tallest man of whom there is irrefutable evidence in the annals of medical history.

—The Wadlow family later grew with the addition of two sisters, Helen and Betty, and two brothers, Eugene and Harold Jr.. Robert’s siblings fortunately did not have the same growth problems he did. Robert grew up in a normal family during the tough times of the great depression with parents who loved their children.—Read More:

At first, Wadlow appeared to be nothing more than a robustly healthy baby, and when he weighed thirty pounds at six months, his parents were delighted rather than distressed or concerned. They were still not worried when he weighed more than sixty pounds by the age of eighteen months. Though their neighbors frequently remarked on Robert’s unusual size, the Wadlow’s inexplicably failed to measure his height until his fifth birthday, when they found him to be five feet 4 inches tall, the same height as his mother.

In September, 1923, clad in a second hand suit that had originally been bought for a seventeen year old cousin, Robert trudged off to kindergarten. Anyone who was taller than his classmates knows how embarrassing it is to be the gawky giant of the class, and Wadlow was nearly twice the size of the other children. Nonetheless, he was remembered by his early schoolmates as a cheerful, good natured, and bright student. One of the most prevalent myths about giants is that they are inevitably oafish simpletons, like Lennie in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, but this certainly wasn’t true of Wadlow who was said to have had an IQ of 124, considerably above average, and for several years, until he grew so monstrously tall that going to school became an agony for him, he got good marks in class. ( to be continued)…

—Loneliness is also a recurring theme in ‘Of Mice and Men’ the author John Steinbeck returns to this emotion throughout the book, in which the majority of the characters share this emotion of loneliness the only exception being Lennie whose innocence gives him some immunity from feeling lonely. But he does experience loneliness once in the book and only temporarily when George goes into town with the other farm workers leaving Lennie behind. George similarly is the only other character in the book to not feel lonely as he has his best friend Lennie, but of course this comes to him after he is forced to shoot his best friend Lennie in the final chapter of the book.—Read More:

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