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Rest In Peace

Dec 22, 2009

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For the past couple of years, TOTN has put together a December show to remember the lesser-known, but no less remarkable, people who died that year. Not so much Michael Jackson, whose passing was well-covered. More like these two fascinating folks:

Alaina Reed-Amini (nee Alaina Reed Hall) died Dec. 17, 2009. She had breast cancer. Many people remember her best as Rose on 227, but it will surprise few that my favorite memories are of her as Olivia, Gordon's sister on Sesame Street. The clip above is one of my many favorites — when she jumped double dutch on the show. I remember, as a child, wishing she was my friend, that I was the little girl she pulled into the rotating ropes.

Via my Facebook feed, I learned today that Kim Peek, the inspiration for Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man, died Saturday. According to the Times Online, thirty years after his diagnosis as severely mentally retarded, he was reclassified as a "'mega-savant,' a genius in about 15 different subjects, from history and literature and geography to numbers, sports, music and dates." Though he needed constant care throughout his life,

NASA made him the subject of MRI-based research, hoping that technology used to study the effects of space travel on the brain would help explain his mental capabilities.

He would read eight books a day, taking just ten seconds to read a page. He could read two pages simultaneously, his left eye reading the left page and his right eye reading the right page.

Two memorable and amazing lives that ended in 2009. Who will you remember?

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