Point your toe straight

My mother always told me “Point your toe straight” because I tended to throw my polio foot out to the side.  This unconscious gait, along with my rolled-in ankle prior to the operation I had at age thirteen, was creating a bad habit for my leg, training it to operate in a way, with the knee also slightly pointed outward, [...]

July 22nd, 2018|

Who’s (not) staring at me?

Around age ten to twelve, I was visiting my older sister, whom I looked up to as a fascinating role model auntie.  (Different dad; she was nearly nineteen when I was born.)  I was allowed to take the three-hour Greyhound Bus ride to San Francisco and stay with her and her family.  We were shopping one day, in the very [...]

July 5th, 2018|

How does it look when I walk?

Certainly all of my life, at least from grammar school through today, I have had moments when I turned to see a child trying to imitate my walk.  It was always disconcerting, and of late, just a little surprising, as when you realize toilet paper is stuck to your shoe and trailing along behind.  When I matured, I could finally [...]

June 25th, 2018|

Who Is that Poster Girl?

One of the first misconceptions that confronted me as a handicapped child was that people -- children, adults, everyone – would often say, “I saw your picture on the March of Dimes poster!!”  The March of Dimes was a campaign initiated to pay for polio vaccinations and patient care.  Most of the patients were small children, who were the most [...]

June 8th, 2018|

Learning to Walk Again (for the Third Time!)

After the surgery to partially correct my weak, paralyzed polio ankle when I was thirteen, it was back to school, on crutches.  Slippery floors, scary moments, and a good angora sweater pilling under the arms.  Aching hands, shoulders and armpit muscles.  Armpit rash on my sensitive skin, newly de-fuzzed with Nair depilatory – Mother was nearly hairless and shaved nothing, [...]

May 21st, 2018|

My first teenage summer

When I elected to have a much-needed surgery to correct my paralyzed polio ankle at age thirteen, I had a choice, because I was on the cusp of adulthood, of being in the children’s ward or the adult ward of the hospital in Sacramento.  The operation was going to keep me from rolling my inner ankle bone toward the floor [...]

April 28th, 2018|

Children blurting about handicaps

There were many times, as a child (and there have been as many as an adult), when a child approached me, often one I had never even met, to tell me, “You’re crippled.”  And then would stand there and look at me, into my eyes or down at my leg, as if to say, “I’ve made this observation,” or “My [...]

April 12th, 2018|

Imaginary friends from TV in the 1950’s

In the 1950’s, TV was fast becoming a babysitter for working moms, or even moms who wanted a break. Red Ryder and Little Beaver, his Indian Boy sidekick and sneaky informer, were a personal favorite, taken from the comic book about this auburn-haired cowboy.  At one point I made it up that Little Beaver lived over my bedroom with his [...]

April 1st, 2018|