I Remember When …


Polio.  That was a word that scared the living hell out of us when some of us were kids growing up.  Some of us grew up before the vaccine and some of us grew up after it was introduced.  But a good number of us remember lining up at school for the vaccine.  It seems like everyone knew someone who had it or we went to school with someone who had been afflicted with it.  A number of us remember the kids in school with the braces on the legs and walking with crutches.  It was a nightmare to those who had it and scarier than the Boogey Man to those of us who didn’t have it.

A whole flood of memories came back to me today when Miss Leslie and I were talking about Izhak Perlman and his disability.  I never knew until recently that he had polio as a kid and he still has the braces and crutches today.  What a shocker and a reality check for me.  I can’t help but think just how lucky I was as a young kid to never have this disease.  I can’t help but think how lucky I was that none of my brothers or sisters had this either.

Times have changed.  It’s all but eradicated here in the US.  Two whole generation grew up without ever having to worry about it or seeing its effects on others.  But we Baby Boomers and the generations before us remember it.  I only hope to God no one ever sees something like this ever again.

14 responses to “I Remember When …

  1. I know people with polio. They have managed it quite alright through life. The generations before them it was the tuberculosis that took many young lives. Diseases are always scary. You never know when and what’s gonna hit you or why you don’t get it and stay healthy.

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  2. Not that this is nearly any where on the same scale… but now we have Chicken Pox vaccinations. I was amazed and didn’t think it possible, when the Pediatrician told us it was time for our kiddos. I was like “What? When did this happen?” I feel it’s a rite-of-passage to have these miserable , itchy bumps and have pictures of you with calamine lotion (is that the pink stuff) blotted all over the dots. Everyone has one of these Gawd Awful pictures, right? A large one popped on my forearm, and I can still see the scar faintly.

    Now…if only they can cure HIV/AIDs.

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    • yanno, there is always that plausible theory that a super virus will come out sooner or later that we have absolutely no cure for. the theory goes that the viruses are one way of nature human population in check.

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  3. Yes I remember being petrified getting the shot in school. Did you Aldo get those gels of whatever it was, castor oil maybe? They handed out at school? I’ll have to check what it was but it tasted terrible! In the sixties I had a friend who was in an iron lung because of the disease.

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  4. I remember Polio. I remember the terror. I am thinking there were a couple in my school that wore braces but for the life of cannot remember their names. I just seem them in my head.

    I knew Izhak Perlman had braces. I’ve watched him perform many times on PBS. I think one or two performances were on Seasame Street to teach handicapped are not handicapped but handiCAPABLE.

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