Of course, the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Dental Medicine.
How many parts go into making a legend? Who can say? But while some legends are widely spread, some retire to obscurity. Which will you be?
Sufjan Stevens, who is not the son of Cat Stevens, despite popular belief, grew up in Michigan. As a teen, he quickly realized his potential for music. At Hope College, he produced his first CD, A Sun Came. The album was very obviously and heavily influenced by his spiritual upbringing, and this theme has continued thoughout all of his music. After his next CD, Enjoy Your Rabbit, Stevens decided to delve into the rich mythology of American folklore that had surrounded him since his birth. He started his 50 States Project, a project in which he decided he would create a CD to represent all 50 of the United States. It began with his home state and the album Michigan, and Illinois quickly followed. Stevens touches on dozens of elements of American culture, people, places, and things in the songs of these albums. Because of his quirky lyrical style and expert instrumentation, many people consider Illinois Sufjan's best album and, in many cases, the best album of 2005.
The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders
On Illinois, Stevens touches on many elements of American culture and history, such as The World's Fair, John Wayne Gacy, Andrew Jackson, the Underground Railroad, Abraham Lincoln, and Superman - just to name a few.
For track 20, The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders, Stevens touches on key figures such as Shoeless Joe Jackson (a famous banned baseball player), Benny Goodman (famous jazz musician), and Jane Addams (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize) - all Illinois natives. The song seems to dance around the mention of one central figure, however, whom song was named for - the tallest man in the world, Robert Wadlow.
Born in Alton, Illinois, in 1918, Robert Wadlow was a normal child, the oldest of five. However, when he became four years old, Wadlow began to draw attention to himself - he was growing incredibly rapidly. By the age of eight, he was over 6 ft tall. By 14, 7'4. Wadlow continued to grow and, by his 22nd birthday, he was 8'11 and 435 pounds. He was eventually so tall that he required braces on his legs in order to walk properly.
Ths medical anomaly did not go unnoticed. Doctors, analyzing Wadlow, discovered that he had a tumor on his pituitary gland that caused it to excrete enormous amouts of growth hormone. Though this creates an impressive figure, it usually results in serious injury to the person, and, given time, an early death.
Indeed, Wadlow was both blessed and cursed by his stature. He became a small-time legend upon joining the Ringling Brothers Circus in 1936. In 1938, he toured with the International Shoe Company (who, in turn, paid him and provided him with free shoes - 37AAs!). However, in 1940, a faulty leg brace gave him a blister which led to infection. Though doctors tried their best to treat him, on July 15, 1940, Wadlow died in his sleep.
His funeral was held on July 19. 40,000 people attended. All local businesses were closed for the day. The man Alton residents called the "Gentle Giant" had passed on.
In 1985, a life-size bronze statue of Wadlow was erected at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Dental Medicine to celebrate his memory. The Gentle Giant, indeed, lives on today.
Illinois (TAUNT: Monkey don't see, monkey don't hear, monkey don't smell, monkey don't taste...)
Curse of the Billy Goat (TAUNT: Now you're just being superstitious.)
Jane Addams (TAUNT: Peace + ...)
Benny Goodman (TAUNT: Music + ...)
Shoeless Joe Jackson (TAUNT: Something to do with feet + ...)
Joe Jackson (TAUNT: Something to do with feet + ...)
Superman (TAUNT: maybe)
Robert Pershing Wadlow
Alton (TAUNT: Still?)
Oakwood Cemetery (TAUNT: Legends don't die...)
statue (TAUNT: Where?)
Bronze Statue (TAUNT: Where?)
The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders (TAUNT: Perhaps. Dig deeper.)
Come On Feel The Illinoise
Sufjan Stevens (TAUNT: Now you're getting somewhere.)
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Dental Medicine
Hopefully I'll have my next puzzle up tonight.