Describe what you remember
about the fear surrounding polio epidemics:
I do not remember the fear surrounding polio or remember having
my activities restricted. What I remember most is the huge relief
and gratitude of my parents when they told me that there was a
new vaccine for polio.
Tell us what you remember
of the impact of polio:
The only impact of which I am aware is that I have always been
grateful for all vaccines and appreciative of the opportunity to
have them. My parents' gratitude and excitement about the polio
vaccine made this lasting impression on me.
Describe the reaction of
your family and others you knew to the development of the
My mother called my brother and I into the kitchen one
summer day in the very early sixties and said that we were very fortunate
children to live in an age of scientific advances. She told us there was now a
vaccine for polio and she talked about what a terrible disease it was, how it
had in her words crippled millions of people all over the world including
former President Roosevelt. She said science was wiping out “these terrible
diseases like polio, smallpox and diphtheria.” Then, she told us that we were
to walk down to the high school gym a couple blocks from our home in Mt.
Pleasant and get our vaccines. We went to the high school and stood in line
with several hundred other people, mostly children. There were five or six
lines the length of the gym leading to several long tables in front. When we
got to the front we were given small white paper cups full of serum to drink
and we did. I remember I didn't particularly like the taste, but I kept a poker
face so my brother couldn't tease me about being a sissy.
What I remember most about polio was the gratitude and almost
reverence with which my mother talked about the new vaccine.
People were eager to be vaccinated against polio, there was a
celebratory atmosphere in that gymnasium on that summer day when
we stood in line to get our vaccinations.