Interviewee: Joan Darlene Haxmeier Bellmann
Interviewer: Kate Scott
Date of Interview: November 7, 2007
Run Time: Approximately 75M
Biographical Data Form
Oral History Release
Joan D. Bellmann was diagnosed with polio on August 6, 1955 in St. Catherine’s, Iowa. Joan began feeling sick while working a summer job as a young tour guide at Crystal Lake Cave attraction. According to Bellman, Dubuque only had enough vaccine for infants and children up to the age of seven. Joan was sixteen. She was in the hospital from August 6th to May 6th. At one time, her paralysis took over her entire body – with the exception of one finger. “After about three years, at my very best, I could walk using one crutch and no braces,” she recalled. After completing high school entirely by correspondence, Bellmann enrolled in Clarke College. She graduated in the spring of 1961 and pursued a teaching career that spanned 30 years. Today, Bellmann and her husband live in Dubuque and publish their own newspaper The Golden View.