New ghostly words floated around our house, like iron lung, polio, and the March of Dimes. Following his visit, my three-year-old cousin was one of the polio statistics in the 1950’s. Too young to understand the implications, I was fascinated by a snapshot of Randy ‘asleep’ in a casket, his young life ending hardly before it began. I thought grandma was saying ‘basket.’
Like the many experiences of 1950’s children, we accepted the answers given to our parents about civil defense, nuclear testing, busing, missiles, and vaccinations. I remember that my parents were tentative in giving permission for me to have the Salk ‘dead virus’ vaccination in elementary school. When Sabin’s ‘live virus’ oral vaccine in a sugar cube was recommended in the early 1960’s, again we absorbed our parents’ uneasiness, stood in line and munched on the sweetness of safety. Too young to fathom the global cooperation and exploitation of large world populations needed to refine the vaccination, it is very apparent now that we American children were used as experimental test animals as much as monkeys, Russian or African children. Setting out for perfection the researchers found a suitable way to stop poliomyelitis in its tracks before I left elementary school.
However, whenever I meet someone named Randy, first I wince, then I smile, and finally. . .wish.
'experimental' writing for Sunday Scribblings. . .see more here.