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Doc Holliday A man in search of normalityJohn Henry Holliday perhaps one of the most legendary gunfighters of the west lived in reality a life built on necessity and simply followed it and made due with the blows that were dealt to him Born August 14 1851 to Alice and Henry Holliday John Henry Holliday entered the world already at a disadvantage with a serious birth defect The defect known as a cleft palate and a partially cleft lip basically made suckling his mothers breast impossible Dr John S Holliday Johns uncle and an accomplished surgeon delivered John cleared his air passages and taught his mother the proper way to feed the him due to the defect With out the aid and instructions of Dr Holliday John could have easily choked to death as was common with children that had this genetic defect Ironically one of the tools to feed the young child effectively was a shot glass which in many ways never left his side At only eight weeks old John was under the careful care of his uncle once again Dr John Holliday along with family friend Dr Crawford Long operated on Johns mouth and lip with success This was only the beginning of a turbulent childhood that was anything but typicalInstead of playing around without a care in the world like most toddlers John spent almost all of his time in speech therapy in an effort to correct what otherwise would have been a terrible impediment His mother Alice Holliday was the chief therapist and attacked the problem with gusto Her determination at alleviating the impediment rubbed off on the young child and John therefore worked hard at improving his speech By the age of four the impediment was barely noticeable Yet Johns childhood was not only speech therapy playing with his cousin Robert was his favorite activity and would persist to be for most of his young lifeJohn Hollidays adolescence
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