The other day, I spotted a strange little name: Plennie L. Wingo.
It belonged to a Texan who was born in 1895 and passed away in 1993. His big claim to fame? He walked 8,000 miles backwards in 15 months, from 1931 to 1932.
Why did he do it? The Great Depression was underway, and his restaurant had failed. “With the whole world going backwards,” he wrote in his book Around the World Backwards, “maybe the only way to see it was to turn around.”
[Plennie’s name confused one Baltimore Sun reporter so much that he was given a sex change: “Plennie Wingo, of Abilene, Texas, began walking backward in 1931 in Santa Monica, Calif. She didn’t stop until she wound up a year later in Istanbul, Turkey.”]
- O’Mara, Richard. “Running With a Strange Crowd.” Baltimore Sun 21 Oct. 1995.
- Gillespie, Spike. “Backwards Around the World Plennie Wingo Walked.” Texas Co-op Power Feb. 2004: 22-23.