I remember, as a child, being fearful of catching polio. My parents, along with their friends, whisked their families out to the “country” … the Catskill mountains… each summer, to escape, they believed, this terrible disease.

I guess it worked for most people. I didn’t know anyone back then, who contracted polio.

What I do remember was being inspired to make a difference. At ten years old, or so, along with my friends, I set out to raise money to help the cause. It was something to hang on… magical thinking, perhaps, or maybe… just a diversion away from fear.

We made tissue paper “carnations from Kleenex, embellished with lipstick edges and fresh leaves. Yes, there were trees growing in Brooklyn.

We sold our creations at the local subway station at Newkirk Ave. for twenty-five cents, and managed to raise about eighteen dollars give or take.

We were excited to donate it to the local polio charity office. With the money we included an embellished version of our flowers, fashioned into a corsage, donated by a local florist.

In this time of this current health crisis, I sometimes think about  “Nancy,”  a new bride, many years later, who was fearful of moving from New York to a small town in the mid-west, to accompany her husband who was off to medical school.

“How am I going to survive four years in THAT place?” she had said.

Prepare to grow where you re planted, Nancy, I had challenged.  This can be a new and exciting adventure for you and your husband… if you let it be.

Nancy needed an ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, I had decided.

Now it’s my turn to live up to that standard … again.  After too many days of being “ship-wrecked” in my family room, I’m embarrassed about my lack of real understanding about the depth of Nancy’s angst at the time.

In these trying times, I am being tried for sure …  maybe like you.

I miss life as we’ve known it. I miss seeing … and hugging… the people I love. I miss going shopping, visiting with friends, going out for meals, my Zumba class. I’m working remotely like everyone else … but I miss the face to face time I spend with clients. I have a renewed appreciation of the simple things.

“Grow where you’re planted?”

“Make lemonade when you are given lemons? “

Feels like empty platitudes… with so many people losing their lives and/or their way of life.

SO, WHAT HAVE I DONE TO COPE?

So far today, I’ve taken an exercise class on-line, finished two crossword puzzles, walked on the treadmill … connected with my grandson who agreed to be my personal trainer (remotely) and have taken a shower.

It’s only 12 noon.

I’m  about to make a bunch of phone calls to reach out and “touch” others as much as I can and to encourage others to do the same.

It makes me feel better… kind of like making and selling those flowers so long ago.

Where will you be when this crisis is over? Where will I be? What can we do with this new kind of time and experience?

(AND …ABOUT NANCY: She did just fine. Going off to support a handsome husband turned out not to be so bad after all. Six months after leaving New York, she called me to report that she was “so grateful to have my eyes opened to the big world out there and the challenge of change.”)


Thanks For Visiting,

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

AvatarCousin RichardMarch 29, 2020 at 2:06 pm

Hi Cousin,
Thanks for the good advice. I barely remember the polio scare before 1953. I do remember being frightened. I am glad to hear that you are keeping busy, exercising, seeing patients online, etc.
Donna and I have been staying in our house for the last two weeks with the exception of walking in our community (at least 6 feet from everyone else) for about 5 miles every day. We live in a community called “Village Walk.” We only have gone to the market about once a week. We read, play board games, call friends, even used Zoom for cousins of Donna and a Compassionate Friends meeting.
I try modelling the data from Johns Hopkins U. Trying to fit daily death totals, new cases, etc. has yielded mixed results of a peak sometime in April but I can’t be sure until new numbers start to go down. And it might not be uniform throughout the nation.
How are Hy and your children and grandchildren?
Robert is safe in RI along with Michele.

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AvatarLinda SmithMarch 30, 2020 at 8:53 am

You have taken me back to days as a young girl growing up in New York City. I was so fearful of those shots! Put them into the memory bank along with the Cold War, bomb shelters, escapes to the Catskills, Ike and Mamie,Victory at Sea and so many memories. My childhood take home was that people from NY were special and they can weather anything. They have, they will and we can only learn, believe and love.

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