Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Family With Polio from the Heart of An Eight Year Old - Frisky

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

This week I am going to Aunt Jeanette and Uncle Leo’s place in Slinger, Wisconsin. My Mom and sister, Colette are still in Denver getting treatment for her polio and Dad is the only one at our home in Rochester. I wish I could be with him but his Mom was too old to take care of me all day while Dad works, so I am traveling all over Wisconsin from cousin to cousin.

Aunt Jeanette takes me upstairs to show me my bed. Right in the middle of the bed was the neatest stuffed dog. It was a cocker spaniel just like my best friend’s dog. Cheryl lives two doors up the street from our house and I love her Frisky. I look over my shoulder to my Aunt Jeanette “Whose dog is

“It’s yours Marijo”

I get the biggest grin and hug Frisky tightly to my chest. “Thank you, thank you!” I remember when my sister first got polio 3 years before Aunt Jeanette and Uncle Leo brought her a big stuffed fox. She had that fox with her all the time she was in the hospital for nine months, he is sitting on her bed at home right now. I sure am glad that my Aunt knew we kids would love stuffed animals.

The room was really hot. Nobody had air conditioning back then except for some of the very well to do people. We sure didn’t. We didn’t even have a little fan, just slept with the windows open and our beds pulled in front of them hoping to get a breeze. It could be midnight and 90 degrees out and the radio said it was 90% humidity too. We stuck to the bed sheets, we stuck to chairs, especially those with the plastic coverings. Get out of the bath tub and before we got totally dry we were wet again from sweating. And we all still had to take naps in the afternoon so we wouldn’t catch polio. Everyone took naps even us bigger kids.

My cousins at this house are Danny and Joey. They are fun for boys but they are boys, younger than I am by several years. By this time I just want to be home and in my own bed.

Aunt Jeanette takes me shopping. I see a baby bottle that would be perfect for my sister. We both have life sized dolls that wear a size two toddler and we don’t have bottles for our babies. I had a little money Dad had given me before I left Rochester and I knew where I would spend part of it.

“Aunt Jeanette, I want to get that baby bottle for Colette’s big doll.”

“OK, we can even mail it off to her. Do you think she’d like that?”

I thought that was the best idea yet. No, we didn’t have our big dolls with us but this would be a great surprise. “Oh, can we?”

We get the bottle and package it up taking it to the post office to send to Colette.

A few days later I am taking my nap, which means I am tossing and turning in the upstairs bedroom trying to get quiet until it was time to get up. I heard feet on the steps and there is my Aunt with a box in her hands. “This came in the mail for you, Marijo”

She has scissors with her and hands them to me with the box. It is from my sister. I tear it open to find a juice sized baby bottle for my big doll. I can’t believe that Colette and I have the same idea for a gift the very same week. I asked my Aunt if I can fill it with cold water. We do just that. Then I have cool water to drink during my “nap time” in the hot, upstairs room. I offered some to Frisky but he didn’t want any so I drank it all myself.

I know, a child psychologist would have had a ball with that one and me eight years old. But it was way before sippy cups were invented and it sure tasted good to have a cold drink of water during my nap time at Aunt Jeanette’s, and know I had a bottle for my big doll, Joey, when I finally got home to him.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved use giving proper credit only.

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