The Polio Scare

by u235craig | October 15th, 2013

Polio was a very real disease in our country. It had crippled President Roosevelt. Mass infections of the disease would periodically strike. The Salk Vaccine developed in the 1950’s would wipe out this terrible crippling disease.
At some point in the mid 1950’s the People of Tacoma were called in for mass Polio Shots. We all had to report to the Health Department at 24th and Pacific Avenue. It is a large building on the northwest corner. There are some glass blocks where there should be windows near the main entrance today. It seems like there used to be many more glass blocks that made the building seem very eerie.
The sidewalks in that neighborhood are very wide. As families crowed on them lining up to get their inoculations it seemed as though the whole world was waiting for their turn.
We had brought the Hughes with us. So Daryl, two 2 years older than me, David, 1 year older, and Valerie, my age came along with my mom, myself and sister Diane. Lots of kids in line were crying and fusing with their folks. I had two older guys I hung around with and their sister that I kind of had a crush on so I acted pretty tough. Diane was pretty scared. We were all nervous inside. Plus when you wait in line for about an hour you imagination can play tricks on you.
Finally, we get inside. You get this little shot and it is all over. Kind of a joke.
Not really. My sister a couple months later gets diagnosed with Polio. What a freak out. The family goes nuts. All I an think about is where are they going to put the iron lung. In her room or in the living room. Will she get to see TV.
Because she had the shot she only gets a minor case. Some damage to her legs. The doctors suggest ballet lessons as a form of therapy. So for the next 2 years I get to go with her and mom to watch her and a dozen other little girls practice ballet. That was pure torture for a little boy. I was glad my sister was OK but it was still pretty bad.

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I grew up with a family that was truly Northwest. We were Hunter/Gathers. From clam digging and crabbing at Grayland, Huckleberry picking at Mount Adams, Salmon fishing and a Bear Hunt on the Straits of Juan De Fuca, Camping at my Aunt and Uncles Cabin at Monte Cristo, Oysters at The Doseiwallups on the Canal to Trout Fishing in British Columbia; I enjoyed it all growing up. We ate really good with the things we got. I learned well at a young age to enjoy life. Preparing a fine meal and pairing the wine to go with it can be intimidating. It doesn't have to be. It is and should be fun. So come along listen to my stories, try out my original recipes, and enjoy the wines I suggest. You might Like it!



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