The Mythical Bill
A Neurological Memoir
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Iowa Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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What day is today, I hear him ask, my father, who is called Bill: the dreaded question. I’ve just woken up. Last night I stayed up late watching The Yearling on my portable TV with the rabbit-ears antennae — the one my mother let me buy with the fifty dollars I made dancing in Sleeping Beauty with the Leningrad Kirov Ballet. It sits...
Part One [Includes Image Plates]
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He called me Johannesburg, South Africa. They named me Johanna Dianne after my patron saint, St. John of the Cross, but only in order to call me Jody. Or, in his case, Johannesburg. Walking with him to church some Sunday when I am still pretty little, holding his hand, I take big steps to keep...
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William (Bill) Joseph McAuliffe — Mc [plus] Olaf, redheaded Viking ought-to-be — is born on November 14, 1920, the third of four children of John H. McAuliffe and Margaret Cronin. As an infant, so the story went, my grandmother lived in a cabin in Montana surrounded by “Indians.” She was born in the...
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This sterling tale of heroism in the South Pacific does not jibe with what my brother had heard from my father’s younger brother, Bob. Jack sends to the U.S. Navy for documents relating to my father’s participation in WWII. The documents that he receives in return do not tell the whole story. He has to parse...
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Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie opens in Chicago on December 26, 1944, and runs while Bill is stateside but not yet discharged. Laurette Taylor finds the play she has been waiting for and Bill sees it. An indelible image of excellence, her miraculous performance in this dream/nightmare...
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October 29, 1990, and I’m reading the New Yorker and come across an article by Terence Monmaney, “An Epidemic of Brain Disease: This Obscure Malady.” I still have the magazine; there’s a pumpkin on the cover with a man’s face inside of it. Monmaney documents the work of a neuropathologist named...
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I am grateful for reactions to the manuscript given to me by Allan Havis, W. D. King, Jeff Jackson, Corina Stan, Tom DiPietro, Don De- Lillo, Elizabeth Davis, Marlane Meyer, Victoria Christian, and Frank Lentricchia. I wish to thank Dr. Lawrence Greenblatt, Dr. Peter King,...
Appendix: A Brief History of Surgical Approaches to Torticollis
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A Short Bibliography of Works Consulted and Cited
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Page Count: 164
Publication Year: 2013