Who is Leona?

Leona Port, Born 1902, Died 1963

Leona Port
Born 1902, Died 1963

Leona Port was the author’s mother’s sister. Pictured here as a young schoolgirl in approximately 1908, Leona had a relatively normal childhood in East Syracuse, New York, the daughter of a railroad worker and a housewife. But at some point during her adolescence, she began to suffer “spells.” By the time she was about 19, she heard voices telling her to kill her little sister Eleanor, who was then about eight years old. When the author’s grandparents caught her in the hallway with a kitchen knife, headed to the bedroom where her little sister lay sleeping, they decided they had no choice. They committed her to a state hospital for the insane, where she lived out the rest of her life.

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