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My father was a polio victim...

My father was a polio victim...

My father struggled severely due to his case of polio just as he graduated from high school in 1938. He had to be hospitalized for almost two years and they were not sure he would survive. He did though, and he had a decided limp for the remainder of his life. He had to wear "special " shoes, which as a kid we thought was rather cool. Although,  he only had brown ones, until way later in my life when he could afford a black pair for dress. 

He had to work so very hard to get over the 4f category for the draft in WWII. His brother was in the Navy and suffering terribly at the hands of the enemy. My dad worked over two years to finally qualify and in 1943 he was sworn in to the US Navy, and he proudly served in the Philippines as an airplane mechanic. My grandfather had all of my dad's sisters write to him to encourage him to keep trying. It was so hard to get strong enough and ready to fight.

He could fit into his Navy uniform until the day he died, and he was so proud of his service. He took us on "educational tours" whenever we took a vacation, and one of his proudest moments was when he could show us the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He was so proud to be a Navy man.

You can bet we were nearly the first ones in line for polio vaccine which was given in a sugar cube. My dad said he wouldn't wish that disease on anyone...I was about 10 or 11 years old and my sister, 6 and my brother 2.

The disease far outweighs the vaccine in risks...always...

I worked many years as a Public Health nurse, always remembering my dad's very real experience with a dreadful disease. Thank you.


Last modified: 
Oct 26, 2017


Wonderful story! My mom survived polio, too, and served her country through the Peace Corps in the 1960's. Not only did our parents have to overcome the disease and resulting disabilities, they had to do it in a time before the ADA!