When Tanya Ward Goodman came home to New Mexico to visit her dad at the end of 1996, he was fifty-five years old and just beginning to show symptoms of the Alzheimer's disease that would kill him six years later. Early onset dementia is a shock and a challenge to every family, but the Wards were not an ordinary family. Ross Ward was an eccentric artist and collector whose unique museum, Tinkertown, brought visitors from all over the world to the Sandia Mountains outside Albuquerque. In this book Tanya tells Ross's story and her own, sharing the tragedy and the unexpected comedy of caring for this funny, stubborn man who remained a talented artist even as he changed before his family's eyes.
"A brutally honest account of how a family fought against the incursions of Alzheimer's, and their anguish at being unable to stop the disintegration. . . . If you read one book that deals with living with dementia, make it this one."--Mark Liebenow, Widower's Grief blog
"Tanya Ward Goodman, writing with a big heart, clear eyes, and a light touch, allows us a privileged glimpse into the shabby, enchanted world of traveling carnivals, roadside attractions, and a beloved, eccentric father's descent into Alzheimers. Just as her dad animated the handcarved, miniature western world of Tinkertown from coat hangers, inner tubes and old sewing machine motors, Tanya Ward Goodman has fashioned her complex and often hilarious memories into a beguiling, wry, and moving work of art."--Michelle Huneven, author of, Blame
"Tanya Ward Goodman has written a book full of light and love, about a thoroughly modern family who find unique connections amid complicated loss. This book is not just a testimony to the influence of the larger-than-life father whose existence -- and illness -- power the narrative, it is also a statement about the luminous presence that same man leaves behind in all those he loved and who loved him. Leaving Tinkertown teaches us about devotion, loyalty and inheritance, and all their profoundest truths."--Vicki Forman, author of This Lovely Life, winner of the PEN Center Award for Creative Nonfiction and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference Bakeless Prize