“The Good Old Days?”

polio
Iron Lung For Polio Victims

I am in the middle of a series of posts about things that have disappeared from today’s world. I am enjoying remembering these, sharing memories with other readers, and introducing younger readers to earlier times. However, I do not mean to imply that the old days were the “good old days.” I am not nostalgic for the past in the sense that I wish I were living there. Instead, I am highlighting pleasures and activities that were common then.

I think it is too easy to look wistfully back on earlier times while forgetting some of the sober realities present then too. One of the biggest dreads when I was child was polio. I remember once having my legs ache when I was 9 and fearing I had  contracted polio. It was a terrifying disease with no cure and devastating consequences for those children who survived it.

I remember very clearly going downtown to the local high school with my brother and sisters and swallowing a sugar cube with vaccine  to prevent polio. I believe I was 13 or so. My littlest sister was only 5. My parents could not believe that they no longer had to fear summer gatherings of children, potential sources for the spread of polio.  Dr. Salk and Dr. Sabin had made the future brighter for children.

That is to remind us all that that the “good old days” had many perils today’s children are spared.

6 thoughts on ““The Good Old Days?”

  1. Absolutely. I remember that sugar cube too. And your photograph reminds me of my younger sister, aged under 5 being taken into hospital for what was then a common operation to remove the tonsils and adenoids. No parents were allowed to stay and visiting times were brief and strictly controlled. She was there for a fortnight. You are right to maintain a balance – not everything can be touched with the rose-coloured glasses of nostalgia.

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