Polio Place

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Nancy Hotz Caverly; Age 17; 1953; Tulsa, Oklahoma

July 9, 1953
I was playing a match in the Oklahoma Junior Girls Golf Tournament in Muskogee, Oklahoma. I won the match while walking 13 holes with severe pain in my legs and back. I was seventeen years old, just graduated from Tulsa Central High School. My family returned to Tulsa that afternoon; it was a rough trip for me, lying across my two sisters in the back seat of the car,

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The Reluctant Poster Child

Elaine Burns; Age 5, 1957; Boston, Massachusetts

I remember the day that this photo was taken. I was probably five years old. I was being considered for the March of Dimes Poster Child. I’m not sure if it was on a local or national level.

The family folklore is that I was not chosen because my teeth were not perfect. I allegedly had been given some sort of medication that had affected my baby teeth.

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Lauro Halstead

Lauro Halstead, age 18, 1954-55, New York

Photo #1
I came down with polio in the summer of 1954 at the age of 18. I was in an iron lung for 1 to 2 weeks and had significant paralysis of my right arm and weakness of the other three extremities. I was hospitalized for approximately six months.

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Broken Arm & Saddle Shoes

Joan L. Headley; Age 11, 1958; Ohio

Our family didn't take many pictures in the 1950s, but breaking an arm was an occasion. In our farm community, boys broke their arms, not girls.

Looking at the photograph today, I am reminded of two things: my mother and saddle shoes.

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David Kelly

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, Downey, California

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Correspondence from the White House

Jean Fox Csaposs; 1934, 1941; New Jersey

I contracted polio in August 1931 at the age of five months. My father, an Englishman, was a chief steward on British passenger liners in those years. He had an engaging personality and often made friends with passengers. In 1934, he befriended Frederick Pond, and I evidently was the subject of one their conversations. Mr. Pond intervened on my behalf by writing to the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation.

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Reversed Day

Elizabeth Clemson Lounsbury; 1956; London, Ontario, Canada

I often wonder where I would be and what I would be doing if I hadn’t had polio. I know that polio is responsible for my best childhood memories. Each summer I spent three weeks at Woodeden, an Easter Seals Crippled Children’s camp, in London, Ontario, Canada.

I was with others who were going through the same things as I. They understood about being different and alone without friends. At Woodeden, we were more the same than different. I felt accepted, challenged, cared for and, above all, safe.

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Swiss Army Knife

Gary Presley; Bolivar, Missouri

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Soonja Cho; mid-1950s; Seoul, Korea

My story with polio began when I was one year old, and my leg was paralyzed.

At that time, it was the beginning of the Korean War and my family had to flee our home. To escape the advancing North Korean army, we traveled from Seoul to Pusan in the very south of Korea. It took us many months because our family had to walk the entire distance, over 200 miles. We could travel only at night. My older sister carried me. If we could have gone by bus, the trip would have taken about 5 hours.

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Polio and Motherhood

Carol Elliott; Downers Grove, Illinois

Being a mom is the one of the most wonderful life experiences I have had. It remains my joy. Having polio at age 2 did not prevent me from cherishing that experience. I had a normal, healthy pregnancy. I was able to carry that tiny baby before and after he was born, even though the metal leg brace I wore weighed almost as much as he did at birth.

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