Describe what you remember
about the fear surrounding polio epidemics:
Not allowed to swim in swimming pools for sure. I
remember being told not to drink from the public drinking
fountains on main street of Akron and Hawarden.
Tell us what you remember
of the impact of polio:
I remember football practice in the early fall of 1952. I
was a freshman in high school at Akron
and told the coach I ached all over and was stiff in the neck. He said not to
worry and to go ahead and practice. The next morning I could hardly get out of
bed; my mother took me to the doctor, he did a spinal tap and I remember him
saying to mom “Well, we've got it.” I thought he meant he was done and I could
go home and go to school but he meant I had polio. I was in bed at home for 4
weeks or so and clearly remember the wonderful feeling of relief from the very
hot packs my mom made from woolen blankets. They smelled bad when heated but
felt so very good when put in my legs, back, and neck. I was very fortunate in
that I did not have the Bulbar polio so I was not severely in danger at any
time, but my family and I were very afraid of what might result from my
illness. I had a friend who rode the same school bus as I who died from polio
so that increased the fear greatly. My family and friends were very supportive
with many get-well cards every day and lots of calls to my parents. My older
brother was disappointed in that he was held out of school for 2 weeks so he
missed playing in 2 football games! One of my sisters had had polio in the 1948
epidemic but she was also fortunate not to have serious consequences from it.
Describe the reaction of
your family and others you knew to the development of the
I clearly remember passing coffee cans at basketball games that
winter as a fund raiser for polio research and being introduced
to the crowd as a polio victim. Everyone was so hopeful for a
cure for polio and when it finally happened it was a huge relief
for everyone. I don't actually recall my first shot---it seems
that maybe I didn't get one because I had had polio.
General Comments :
My sister and I were so fortunate not to have been too seriously
affected by polio though both of us have had some lingering
effects. The sight and sound of the iron lung to this day makes
me very tense and the relief of not having to be in one of those
is unbelievably great.
Thanks for allowing me to share a few comments.