Describe what you remember
about the fear surrounding polio epidemics:
The year was 1958. My second grade classmates and I were
surprised to see that our new teacher wore heavy metal braces on
her withered legs and used metal crutches to drag herself from
place to place. It turned out that she had signed a contract
before she got polio, and fulfilled it after her partial recovery
with our class. She only stayed one year.
Partway through the year, she noticed that I could not seem to
copy the alphabet from above the board. I was in the lowest
reading group, too. Finally, she contacted my mother to tell her
that I needed glasses. After I got them, she sent home the Dick
and Jane books so I could read them out loud to my mom, and move
up to the top reading group! I was thrilled.
I always wanted to thank her for catching the problem and turning
my academic life around, but I could never find her. She would
have no idea how much she impacted my life. Finally I could read!
Eventually I became an English teacher and later a librarian.
Tell us what you remember
of the impact of polio:
My 2nd grade teacher was left with heavy metal braces on both
legs and metal crutches. Our classroom was on the second floor,
and there was, of course, no handicapped access. I remember the
other teachers being irritated because she didn't have to outside
to do recess duty. Someone installed metal plumbing pipe bars on
both walls of the last girls' bathroom stall so she could get up
without help. Those bars stayed there for years after she left.
She only taught for one year. I think it was just too hard.
Describe the reaction of
your family and others you knew to the development of the
Our whole family went to Oskaloosa from our Mahaska County farm
near Fremont to get the vaccine on a sugar cube. I remember long
lines of people, and standing with my younger brother and sister,
and being so relieved because there was no shot involved.