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This report is taken from PN Review 97, Volume 20 Number 5, May - June 1994.

Letter from Thistle Hill John Killick

Have you got the first date when people asked me who I was and where I was? Write to a newspaper and say 'Please help me. I am bothered. I don't know who I am or where I am, and how long I shall be that person. If you know the answer to these questions please write and let me know

Are you a person who could swing it for me with the authorities? I want you to ask them a question for me: would you please give me back my personality?

How does a writer respond to such requests? Bernard and Alice are part of a growing number of elderly people who cannot remember their lives and are forced by their dementias into a crisis of identity They are frustrated, even despairing, about their condition, yet the prognosis for them is bleak - all I can do is to befriend them, hope that they remember me on subsequent visits, and share for a while their concern over the deterioration in their mental processes.

I can't place this place at all - isn't that terrible? What street is this, what town? I can't find that label with my address. Find me, please tell me where I am! I wish to God God would do something!

This is Annie speaking. I am the helpless listener and scribe. Often I feel I am also the voyeur of an interior conflict which I know ...

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