He knew his name. That much he could remember.
He knew that his father's family came from Thibodaux, La., and his mother was from Ireland. He knew about the 1929 stock market crash, World War II and life in the 1940s.
But he could remember almost nothing after that.
In 1953, he underwent an experimental brain operation in Hartford, Conn., to correct a seizure disorder, only to emerge from it fundamentally and irreparably changed. He developed a syndrome neurologists call profound amnesia. He had lost the ability to form new memories.
For the next 55 years, each time he met a friend, each time he ate a meal, each time he walked in the woods, it was as if it were for the first time.
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