Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sweet Strange Stories

What I like about these stories is not that they are so strange (though they are), but rather that they are so sweet.

Since he was reported to be 8 feet, 4 inches tall, everybody looked up to Al Tomaini – especially his wife, Jeanie, who measured 2 feet, 6 inches. She was born with no legs.

The Half Lady and The Giant met and fell in love in 1936 when their separate shows chanced upon each other in the same place. Six months later the couple eloped, believe it or not, in Ripley, N.Y. The Tomainis went on to work with Ringling Bros. and eventually ran their own sideshow.

In 1950, the couple settled in Gibsonton, Fla., where they raised a family and opened the Giant's Camp restaurant and fishing camp. Al also organized the town's first fire department and served as its chief.

The Giant passed away on Aug. 30, 1962. Jeanie continued to operate the Giant's Camp for decades, living there until she died on Aug. 10, 1999, just weeks before her 83rd birthday.

Their adopted daughter, Judy Rock, never thought there was anything unusual about her parents. "Our home life was wonderful," she remembered. "It was what everybody wishes theirs was: no talk of divorce, no big fights, no drinking, no smoking. Just a family."

(Nod to Angry Alex)

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