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One Particular Harbor

 4.27  ·   Rating Details ·  26 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
Janet Lee James is only twenty-three years old and just beginning a career as a rock 'n' roll disc-jockey when she is diagnosed with MS. Hoping she'll be one of the vast majority of those who go on to lead full, productive lives relatively undisturbed by the disease, she takes off alone for the wilds of Alaska, leaving home, work, and family behind to live out her dream of a life filled with excitement and adventure. Janet spends the next several years amidst the spectacular beauty of the Alaskan wilderness, migrating with the change in seasons from her log cabin in the woods to a tiny fishing village on the coast. Her summers are spent climbing glaciers, fishing for crab, and sailing classic schooners. Winters are filled with dogsled racing, hot-air ballooning, and putting out to sea on a working ship. The MS begins to re-assert itself, however, in a chronic pattern of attacks and remissions, and she struggles to adjust - even submitting to twenty-six barehanded operations by the "psychic surgeons" of the Philippine Islands. As the disease progresses in rare, unexpected ways, a wheelchair finally becomes a necessity. She then enters a rehabilitation center and provides us with a graphic, unflinching look at what it takes to prepare for life with a serious disability. Janet James's penchant for black humor, cold beer, and handsome men results in numerous outsized tales. Her story is a frank, detailed account of life with a profound disability - a rare example of what MS can do. But through it all, she reminds us that life, regardless of its circumstances, truly is whatever we choose to make it.
NOTE: Janet Lee James was a very good friend of mine. We grew up on the same block together, on Biddle Avenue, in Wilkinsburg, PA, during the 1950s and 1960s. She had a zest for life; she was intrinsically fun to be with....a pleasant addiction.
Being "romantically" enamored with her by age 7, I never did raise the fifty cents I required to take her on a date, for coca-cola and potato chips. R.I.P., Janet.

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