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Hope you're happy, Sandy Allen / Hope your garden is blooming
July 13, 2014 2:16 PM   Subscribe

I’m struck by how perfectly her grave reflects her life: at once dilapidated, lonely; and yet unique, inviting, nearby to children. What are all those other little graves with their knickknacks compared to this one off here on its own? I sit on the white bench. I look at the expanse of earth before me, trying to picture the enormous woman below. I say, "Hello." The Sad, Strange, True Story of Sandy Allen, the Tallest Woman in the World (previously)

Bonus: Split Enz and Neil Finn say "Hello, Sandy Allen"
posted by scody (16 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting that she and the then-oldest woman lived the last years of their lives in the same nursing home at the same time.

I have a friend who grew up in Shelbyville, I wonder if she ever met Sandy Allen.
posted by SisterHavana at 2:43 PM on July 13


Thanks for posting this extremely fascinating article! I met Sandy Allen in person back in (I believe) 1979 when she was making a personal appearance at the Guinness Book of World Records Museum in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:03 PM on July 13


Buried in the article is the fact that if her family had been able to afford brain surgery when she was a child, she would have been tall but not a giant, and would presumably be alive today. But they weren't insured, so they just never went back to the doctor.
posted by Frowner at 3:14 PM on July 13 [33 favorites]


I met Sandy Allen in person back in (I believe) 1979 when she was making a personal appearance at the Guinness Book of World Records Museum in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Wow, small world. Sounds like we met her the same day (yes it was 1979). I was working at the Maple Leaf Village amusement park right behind the museum - she went on a few rides. I remember feeling sorry for her as everyone stared and pointed.
posted by davebush at 3:36 PM on July 13


According to the article, she worked at the Guinness Book of World Records Museum for 8 years, so I'm not sure why you're assuming that you met here there on the same day!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:39 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


she worked at the Guinness Book of World Records Museum for 8 years

My error. I didn't know that. I'd assumed she was there for a one-off appearance.
posted by davebush at 3:43 PM on July 13


Buried in the article is the fact that if her family had been able to afford brain surgery when she was a child, she would have been tall but not a giant, and would presumably be alive today. But they weren't insured, so they just never went back to the doctor.

I noticed that too. It's one of those "Only in America!" factoids, like how it's more plausible that we have a giantess or a high school chemistry teacher who becomes a meth lord than to expect the United States to provide health insurance like a civilized country.
posted by jonp72 at 4:28 PM on July 13 [9 favorites]


And the song is that strange blend of life-affirmation and melancholy that Neil Finn does so well.

One day when life had been a bit rough, the song came on the iPod and I burst into tears. Hope your garden's blooming.. yep, it still gets me.
posted by kariebookish at 5:00 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]


The description of her grave reminds me of the Oscar Wilde story "The Selfish Giant", which will always cause me to weep when I hear or read it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:55 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


She sounds like she was such a kind person. I especially admire that she kept making speeches and appearances to spread an inclusive message about accepting differences, and that she tried so hard to maintain her dignity in the face of being forced into such undignified circumstances (like that Howard Stern interview, for one -- ugh!). That can't have been at all easy for her, physically or psychologically -- she must have had a lot of character and grit. Nobody should have it so tough, I'm sorry that she had to go through all that she did, and I have to say that I admire how strong she seems to have been.

.
posted by rue72 at 7:11 PM on July 13 [5 favorites]


Did she ever have a chance to meet André Roussimoff?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:06 PM on July 13


Hope you're happy - Sandy Allen
Hope your garden is blooming
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:10 PM on July 13


Ah, whoops, right there in the post. Oh well, I love that album, so.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:10 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]


Nobody should have it so tough

Seconded.

.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:25 PM on July 13


That was a great article--thank you. I didn't know anything about her and I'm glad to have learned about her. Very sad bit about the preventable nature of her health problems and early death.

She looks beautiful in the still from the Fellini movie. What an experience that must have been for her.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:22 AM on July 14


Very sweet: the Split Enz fan page on Facebook just posted this photo of the band when they met her, which inspired Neil to write the song.
posted by scody at 11:19 AM on July 25


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