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August 09, 2010


What an amazing piece this is! It took my breath away - not only from the story itself, but from the way you wind in and out and around making connections, twisting and turning from the past to the present, to your ever so personal life to your son's. What a writer you are!

BTW, I think Patricia Neal was in my all time favorite move - "The Subject Was Roses." Am I right?

As a young man I loved Patricia Neal in "the Day the Earth Stood Still" and can remember reading with shock and sadness about those early strokes. Thanks for sharing.

Another wonderful tribute. I hope her family gets to read this one.

What a fascinating tribute Danny! I had no idea you and your family had so many connections to Patricia Neal. I love your writing.

Great post, Danny. Amazing how close you came to meeting your idol in person, but that your wife and son met her in your place was equally fitting.

All I can say is, WOW!!! I think this is one of the best blogs you've ever written, and such an amazing story. The connections you had with her are amazing. I best remember her from "Breakfast at Tiffany's", one of my favorite movies. I loved loved loved reading this!So touching...

Enjoyed reading your tribute. I remember you saying in the past how much you admired Neal and her then husband. I'm sorry to hear that she's gone now, but what an amazing life and career she had.

Dear Danny! What a marvelous story and tribute! I loved seeing the postcard w/ the Drake address and your photos! poignant and moving, i always admired miss neal's work! Oy, someday i want to have a movie and tv marathon w/ you! best w/ kisses and hugs to all of you!

I'm spending the summer in France, and when I heard the news of Ms. Neal's death, the first thing I did was go to your blog. You didn't let me down. Wonderful tribute!

Coincidentally, I found your blog looking up something on Roald Dahl, and voila! I keep returning.

Danny, I agree with your other fans that this is a particularly moving post.

By the way, I think it's fair for you to think that your letter had something to do with Dahl writing "Danny, Champion of the World."

I have been waiting all day for your post. Patricia Neal was born in Whitley Co. Kentucky, right near the border of Tennessee, in coal camp called Packard. I grew up being a fan since she was from a coal camp(as my family was) and since we lived just 20 miles north of where she was born. She was our own "local gal who made it big" and we were so proud of her. I had totally forgotten about all of the advances in stroke care because of her. Beautiful tribute Danny.

Just found out that Pattricia Neal died from your blog. I too loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant peach, even though i was a lot older than you when I read them. I was also a fan of hers. i do think you are the one and only: Danny, the Champion of the World!!! Great connections. Another great tribute to broken marriages too.

What to say Danny? This was an absolute beautiful eulogy to Ms Neal. Sorry for your loss and so thank you for bringing her legacy for such a blessing in your and Charlie's lives.

It's so nice to know that other kids were doing the same kind of magical thinking that I was. I too had a 'thinking makes it so' orientation to life which allowed me to travel well beyond the brick and mortar reality of my world. I remember being shocked to discover from Patricia Neal's bio how disloyal Roald Dahl was, and I 'punished' him by not reading any of his books. His writing talent won out however as my three children are all huge fans.

I just watched "Hud" about 6 months ago, commercial-free, from beginning to end, as an adult. I may have seen it as a kid but had not lasting memory of it. But this time I was so impressed, especially with Patricia Neal's performance.

I remember your post about the close encounter that Charlie and Kendall had with PN at the Farmer's Market and also think that this is one of your greatest pieces. I too love the blending of all the story lines!

I'm in France for the duration and am completely unplugged from the news, so thank you for having made me aware of her death and her great impact on you.


Dear Danny,

I had a little pang when I read this blog entry because I somehow missed the news that Patricia Neal had died.

A couple of years ago, my friends were on a cruise across the Atlantic, and Patricia Neal was a guest on the ship. She gave a talk about her life, and offered her autobiography for sale, of which my friends bought a copy. Subsequently, they loaned it to me to read. What a fascinating story !

And, then, for Kendall and Charlie to actually meet her at the Farmers' Market, was incredibly lucky.

I hadn't realized that Charlie was still having some residual health issues. I guess it's because he looks and acts like any perfectly healthy little boy.
The thing that strikes me about Charlie is that he seems to be uncommonly happy, all the time.
What a blessing.


Danny, I agree with the others--one of your best pieces of writing! I didn't know that Patricia Neal was married to Roald Dahl. And all the connections you make seem to point to this being your family, yes! Was Charlie named in honor of Roald's character? And he met her at the Farmer's Market recently? Too many coincidences!

Danny, I am not sure that I can provide the facts (I will try to research it), but it was my understanding that Roald Dahl had an anti-Semitic streak. I was surprised that you did not refer to that in your entry, since you seem to know just about everything there is to know about people you write about. But as always, your paean was beautiful and sensitively written. I am so glad that we have YOU around!

Very very long and interesting story. Thanks!

Wonderful story! She was special to me too, also starting with the The Homecoming. I just wanted to tell you, because I had a daughter with birth complications, that I had such good luck taking her to a napropath who specializes in Infants. It's really important developmentally (brain, body, language) to be symmetrical and she helped tremendously. I went to Upledger Institute and found the person in my area with the most infant training. She's in Chicago at Lawrence and Western and her name is Elaine Stocker but napropaths can be found everywhere.

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