Oldest Resident of Munchkinland Avers Every Detail of Fateful Day

Munchkin City coroner a Wisconsin boy...

The son of Wisconsin dairy farmers, he endured years of schoolyard teasing about what he calls his "abnormal lack of height" before wandering one day into the Midget Village attraction at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair.


PENNEY FARMS - Like any coroner, he has seen some things. But one case stays with him nearly 70 years after the fact, like some old song he can't get out of his head.

He couldn't shake this case even if he wanted to, what with all the videotapes, the DVDs, the television broadcasts replaying the gruesome aftermath over and over, in vivid Technicolor. Those striped socks, curling back like a pair of deflating noisemakers.

The coroner's name is Meinhardt Raabe, and he lives in a retirement community tucked between here and there.

He can't see or hear too well, and his short legs need the assistance of a three-wheeled walker with hand brakes. But none of this means that at 91 he has forgotten much, because he hasn't - especially about that case.

Sitting on his small bed, his coroner's outfit stored in a closet, Raabe recalls a rich and varied life but makes clear that he accepts, even embraces, how his obituary will read: Munchkin City coroner, handled case of woman killed by house that fell from the sky.

It's hard to imagine now, but the freak accident was just one of many wacky events in a wacky, politically charged time, a time when monkeys could fly and trees could talk and life could change on a witch's whim.

Read more @ The New York Times.

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