Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tall Girl Story

Author's Note: I have updated this entry to include a comment by Rita Rose who was a friend of Sandy, and knew her better than the author of the article I had read.

Now I have someone I could really look up to! Sandy Allen, at 7 feet, 7-1/4 inches tall, was the world's tallest woman until she passed away last August. Arianne Cohen described an interview with Sandy in an op. ed. article in the New York Times on August 22nd.

Wow, Sandy was over a foot and a half taller than me! At a little over 6 feet, I've always thought I was rather tall, at least compared to other women and girls. Since I'm not getting any shorter (well, at least not until my bones start to compress in old age), I've tried to have fun with my abundance of altitude. Like the picture on the right -- you see, being so tall, you can't get both my head and feet into one picture!

According to Arianne, Sandy greeted her with the joke "If you ever want the ceiling painted, put a hat on my head and tell me which way to walk." (Wow, I'm not the only one to joke about my height.)

A reader of the original post, Rita Rose, a friend of Sandy, replied with much more detail. The quote below (in a different color to distinguish Rita's words from mine) is from the e-mail I received from her:

"Sandy was my friend for 31 years and I knew her better than most people did. While some of what Cohen wrote was true, most of it was not. Here's the original post I made after her misleading article ran in the New York Times:

"Wow, I hate to burst your bubbles about this very touching story, but it's not even close to the truth! Sandy did NOT die alone or live her last years without family and friends. Yes, her school years were tough, but after she got her world's record as an adult her life became much more tolerable. She made good money working at the Guinness Museum of Records and later returned to Indiana to be a secretary.

"Sandy had many, many good friends who surrounded her. At the nursing home, she was well taken care of for the most part (it was, after all, a nursing home). There were 2 local women, her friends, who constantly watched out for her welfare and raised hell if things weren't right. I visited her at least once a month, and would have gone more often but I don't live in her town. She had many visitors -- maybe not every day, but who does? And the 2 wonderful women who watched over her promised Sandy that if she were dying, one of them would be with her so she wouldn't die alone -- and she was.

"Most of her family and friends visited her the day before she died. Her funeral and calling saw many notable visitors -- the mayors of Indianapolis and Shelbyville, some retired Pacers basketball players, Cincinnati Tall Club members and many more -- and more than 400 people signed the guest book.

"If Sandy was alone the day the writer [ed. note: Arlianne Cohen] of this article visited, that was just one day out of many where she had plenty of attention. She shouldn't have judged Sandy's situation based on one day, and without talking to some of Sandy's friends and caretakers. I certainly hope her book was much better researched because this truly is sloppy, exploitative journalism.

"My book, "World's Tallest Woman: The Giantess of Shelbyville High," will be out in November, if anyone is interested. (www.hawthornepub.com for preorder at a discount.) I was Sandy's friend for 31 years and knew her well. The portrayal of her in this story is sad all right -- and not because of Sandy's situation. Please know that she was well-loved and cared for!"

_____________________________________________________________

If you find Sandy's story interesting, you can read more:
  • Rita Rose's upcoming book, "World's Tallest Woman: The Giantess of Shelbyville High," Hawtorn Publications, is described at: http://www.hawthornepub.com/books_history.html

  • Arianne Cohen, "Giant Problems," New York Times, August 22, 2008.

  • Arianne Cohen, The Tall Book: A Celebration of Life From on High, Bloomsbury, to be released April 2009. (http://ariannecohen.com/)















2 comments:

Rita said...

Yet another blogger has been duped by Arianne Cohen's article on Sandy Allen. Sandy was my friend for 31 years and I knew her better than most people did. While some of what Cohen wrote was true, most of it was not. Here's the original post I made after her misleading article ran in the NYT:
Wow, I hate to burst your bubbles about this very touching story, but it's not even close to the truth! Sandy did NOT die alone or live her last years without family and friends. Yes, her school years were tough, but after she got her world's record as an adult her life became much more tolerable. She made good money working at the Guinness Museum of Records and later returned to Indiana to be a secretary. Sandy had many, many good friends who surrounded her. At the nursing home, she was well taken care of for the most part (it was, after all, a nursing home). There were 2 local women, her friends, who constantly watched out for her welfare and raised hell if things weren't right. I visited her at least once a month, and would have gone more often but I don't live in her town. She had many visitors -- maybe not every day, but who does? And the 2 wonderful women who watched over her promised Sandy that if she were dying, one of them would be with her so she wouldn't die alone -- and she was. Most of her family and friends visited her the day before she died. Her funeral and calling saw many notable visitors -- the mayors of Indianapolis and Shelbyville, some retired Pacers basketball players, Cincinnati Tall Club members and many more -- and more than 400 people signed the guest book.
If Sandy was alone the day the writer of this article visited, that was just one day out of many where she had plenty of attention. She shouldn't have judged Sandy's situation based on one day, and without talking to some of Sandy's friends and caretakers. I certainly hope her book was much better researched because this truly is sloppy, exploitative journalism.
My book, "World's Tallest Woman: The Giantess of Shelbyville High," will be out in November, if anyone is interested. (www.hawthornepub.com for preorder at a discount.) I was Sandy's friend for 31 years and knew her well. The portrayal of her in this story is sad all right -- and not because of Sandy's situation. Please know that she was well-loved and cared for!
Rita Rose

Ada said...

Wow!That height is impressive, even on tallkiss.com