THE LIFE HISTORY OF FRANCESCO A. LENTINI

 

I am the subject of the present sketch.  I was born in Rosolini in the province of Sirocusa, Sicily, in the year 1889.  I am of a family of twelve children (seven sisters and five brothers. who are all ordinary appearing people, there being nothing unusual in their personal appearance of physical characteristics).

 

Indeed careful investigation does not reveal any peculiarity in any of my ancestors either on the maternal or paternal side of my family.

 

I am often asked the question.  "What is the cause of my strange condition!"  I have appeared before the leading medical world in Europe as well as in the United States, and

the only cause that they can give me is that my mother was to have given birth to twins but at a certain period some of the cells holding one of the bodies ceased to develop so that my mother gave birth not to two children, but more than one.  yet not two.

 

Up to the age of six I was able to extend the third limb so that it was possible for me to reach the floor with it, but was never able to use it for walking purposes, but strange as it may seem at the end of the sixth year my body started outgrowing the third limb, so that at the present time you will notice that it is six or seven inches shorter than the two limbs that I stand on.  And furthermore, you will notice, that none of my limbs are alike--yet, I have three and yet, haven't a pair.

 

 

 

Often people look at me and pass the remark.  "Isn't that too bad!"  But I am here to tell you that there are lots of people in the world who are a great deal worse off then that the realization came to me of my unusual peculiarity, and naturally, I grew a little despondent about everything.  My parents were fairly well to do and I had every comfort and was not neglected, but I began to grow unhappy, nevertheless.

 

But one time I was taken to an institution where I saw a number of blind children and children who were badly crippled and otherwise mistreated by fate, and then and there I realized that my lot wasn't so bad after all.  Even though a child, I could appreciate and enjoy the beauties of life.  I could read and they couldn't,  I could talk to my friends, but some of them couldn't because they were dumb.  I could hear and enjoy beautiful music, while some of them couldn't because they were deaf.  I had my normal faculties and began to look forward to my education, and some of them couldn't because they were idiots.  The visit to the institution, unpleasant though it was because of the misery that I saw, was the best thing that could have happened to me.  From that time to this I have never complained.  I think life is beautiful and I enjoy living it.

 

When I was quite young my family moved to America.  Wherever we want I was of course, considered a curiosity, and while at first their curious, critical gaze was considerably embarrassing.  I gradually became used to it.  It was natural for everyone to suggest to my parents that I be put into the show business, but my father said "No." emphatically--at least until I should have gained an education.  He said he could for see eventually that I might travel, but that he would not allow it until I had the benefit of an education.

 

I am often asked the question if I know of any other case of my kind of anyone being born as I am. Yes, I know of two three-legged cases and two four-legged cases-- the three-legged being males, and the four-legged being females--but none of these had a normal extra lower limb, and none had control of their extra limbs and in fact they had all they could do to get around on their normal lower limbs.  Only one of these lived to an old age, and that was Myrtle Corbet, the four-legged woman.

 

No my limb does not bother me in the least.  I can get about just as well and with the same ease as any normal person--walk, run, jump; ride a bicycle, horse: ice and roller skate: and drive my own car.  I can swim--one advantage I have over the other fellow my shoes, well here's how I buy two pairs and give the extra left show to a one legged friend of mine who had the misfortune to loss his right leg, so you see every time I buy a pair of shoes I really do a good deed along with it.  Another question often asked is. "Does the extra limb bother in sleeping!"  It does not: I can lie on my back or either side of my body without any hardship or loss of sleep.

 

Of course, it was a great shock to my parents that I was born as I was but when they found that I was perfectly normal every other way they too began to be philosophical about it.  I have been traveling for the most past of my life and must say that I enjoyed it very much.

FRANK LENTINI


 

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