Interviewee: Betty Jean Stanfield
Interviewer: Kate Scott
Date of Interview: November 8, 2007
Run Time: Approximately 20M
Biographical Data Form
Oral History Release
It was the fall of 1940 and Betty was about to become a teenager. Sadly, her 13th birthday did not unfold as a day of celebration. That day, she remembers experiencing “terrific pain” in her lower back and noticed she could not turn over in bed. Her fever escalated to 105 degrees. Polio primarily affected her muscles in her left foot and her right leg. Betty called it a “lighter case,” but people still noticed her walking pattern. Betty, who was raised on a dairy farm in rural Prescott, says she had a good life. She feels blessed she was able to have a family. (Photo is Betty with her husband and children.) Her two children were born in the midst of the polio scares in 1950 and 1953. Betty is currently 80 years old and an active member of the Iowa Polio Survivors. She resides in Des Moines. On the eve of her 13th birthday, Betty waded in the river with water above her knees to herd cattle. She still wonders if that river was contaminated.