Interviewee: Maxine Steele
Interviewer: Kate Scott
Date of Interview: August 29, 2007
Location of Interview: Hartley, Iowa
Run Time: Approximately 60M
Biographical Data Form
Oral History Release
Maxine Steele, the youngest of three children, contracted polio as a baby in rural Sutherland, Iowa in 1923. At that time, polio was known as infantile paralysis. According to Maxine, no one told her about it until she began to notice there was something different about her. “Somehow, I sensed it. I don’t know why.” She recalled the first discussion she had with her mother, “My mother finally did tell me in 1940 because there was a lot of polio around. And, something was wrong. The doctor wanted me to go to Sioux City for a spinal tap. They didn’t do it in rural hospitals then. And mother said, well, you don’t need to because you had polio. But she never wanted to talk about it. And I should, of course, just asked her and had her tell me more about what she knew.” Maxine and her husband Robert reside together in the Hartley Community Care Center in Hartley, Iowa.