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  • There is a nice article by David Updike, son of John Updike, entitled A Toast to the Visible World over on the Paper Cuts blog:

    My father's parents were Wesley Russell Updike, a high school math teacher and coach, and his wife, Linda Grace Hoyer, a bookish farm girl who gave her only child his first inklings of a creative life beyond their small Pennsylvania town. Their son, Jahnny, was not famous in 1950 -- he was a skinny, brainy boy with an abundance of creative energy, an aspiring cartoonist who also had asthma, psoriasis and a stammer, and in the high school hierarchy felt himself a considerable step down from the athletes and their glamorous girlfriends. Despite being first in his class he was not accepted at Princeton -- admissions office take note -- and so went to Harvard instead and flourished there, in class and on The Lampoon. But an unexpected obstacle remained to his graduation: all Harvard graduates must be able to swim, and he could not. Inhibited as a child by his own imperfect skin, he had shied away from public swimming pools, and never learned. And so he dutifully went to swimming classes and eventually managed two lengths of the pool -- an achievement he seemed as proud of later as graduating summa cum laude. But for the rest of his life he swam with what I would describe as a rather studied dog paddle. (More...)

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