Thursday, August 27, 2009

Memories of Polio in Ypsilanti, Sent by Kind Readers

Two kind readers have contributed some extraordinary recollections of personal experiences with polio in their families. Polio was once one of the most-feared diseases in Ypsilanti. Thank you to these readers for contributing their memories--and if others have memories of polio, I would be grateful to hear them and collect them here.

Susan Metler writes:

"My mother Marie (Roggenkamp) Patterson had polio around 1953 or 1954. At that point in her life she had five children 10 & under. Her home was at 617 North River Street.
Marie was told that she would not walk again but her husband who was a medic during WWII refused to believe that so he work her legs every day. Mom said he would drag her back in forth in a small up stairs hall way. With prayer, a lot of working with her husband Elzie, Marie did walk and she had me in 1955 and lived until the age of 85. Marie past away one day short of her 86th birthday, on March 31, 2005."

Ms. Metler's sister Kathy added:

"I might add to my sister's comment here, "Susan Metler," not only did our mother have polio but my older brother Michael had it. I can remember all of us going to get polio shots at Dr. Scoville's office. I will never forget the day they came to take my mother to the hospital. The men took a wooden chair upstairs to my mother's room, they sat her on it, and carried her downstairs and out. I was about 6 yrs. old and was so afraid I would never see her again. Dad took us children over to Ann Arbor where she was in the hospital. She came to the window to wave at us so we would know she was all right. Later on I remember her saying how the nurse brushed her hair and put a ribbon in it so she would look pretty for us. The Lord blessed our family to have my mother and brother well and home. Then blessed us with Susan."

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