Tuesday, September 2, 2008

THE SOUTH, POLIO AND PARCEL POST

My main memories deal with successes with the new treament. And being hungry. The work was hard and constant. Every time the hotpacks were removed, a short treatment was recommended. If for instance the biceps was paralyzed, the upper arm was massaged and then given passive exersises. I would bend the arm, stroking the length of the muscle, and say: think that you are moving the arm. Concentrate on the origin of the muscle. Soon I will let you help me move the arm.

We had a little infant who didn't understand what was wanted from her. She was the only patient who remained in the hospital when I left eight or nine months later. It was hard to leave her. But every person in that place loved her and took care of her. I don't remember what her family's circumstances were.

My best recollection is a girl whose name was Polly-Anne Barber. Many parts of her body were involved and healed quite rapidly, except for a stubborn muscle located under her shoulder blade. When we tried to exercise it she was asked to take a big step away from the wall, put two hands on the wall, and then touch her nose on the wall. Every time she tried this, her right shoulder blade would stick out like a wing. She worked so hard and was such good patient. When she went home, she promised to keep working. Next spring I got an Easter card from her. I still have it. It says:'Dear Miss Svensson. My shoulder does not stick out when I push. Happy Easter. Jessica, can you find out if Polly Anne is still alive. She would be in her middle or late seventies by now.

When I arrivedd in ny new home, I felt that the way to m's heart was to knit him a pair of kahki socks. I had never knitted socks before so I had to learn all about turning a heel and I must have had to rip that fist sock more than ten times. Finally I mastered the art and then I had to go shopping for items to put in my shoe box and get it sent in time to be delivered before Christmas. I found a delicatessen and bought a small canned ham and some sweets. I felt like a million dollars when it was finally on its way.

A week later we were told that the ship the army used for Christmas presents had been sunk in the Atlantic. We never knew if it was only a rumor. We had to wait for a thank you to know for sure if it arrived or not. It was sad.

Every Tuesday after work I used to go downtown to buy a Sunday NY Times. I was sitting on the crowded bus filled by GIs and officers. I was trying to manage the thick news paper. Noticed a First Lt. bending over my seat trying to read over my shoulder. So I said 'Would you like the sporting pages. He said No thank you. Never read them. I would like the book section. I said 'Sorry, thats the section I wanted when I went downtown for the paper. But if you write down your address I will be glad to mail it to you when I have finished reading it. He did and I did and then there was a call from him asking me to go out for dinner. I went through the usual line: Thank you but. He said that was OK with him. After dinner we walked downtown and when we passed the biggest hotel in town he said: Would you like to check in and make love for a couple of hours. I was shocked at such directness and laughed and said no. That was the end of him. He was a psychologist and judged people who were trying to get into the US Airforce.

One day when we had only one or maybe two patients left, I recieved a note from Dr Hansson in NY that I had been selected for a Post Graduate Scholarship from Warm Springs GA. So I guess all the readers of this epistle can guess whose name I am lkely to drop next.

19 comments:

Emily said...

grandma, I am so happy to know that your love of knitting socks started with this two-timing M character.

just so all of you svensto blog readers know, all the descendants of this wonderful sweet grandmother get the most incredible knitted slipper socks every year for Christmas. patterns like you WOULD NOT believe. it's the best!

love, emily

hello haha narf said...

i am 37 and never considered myself naive until now because i always figured such direct sexual behavior didn't happen back then. the first lt. coming out and asking for sex like so many people do in the new millennium is something i never fathomed as happening back then.

thank you for sharing your stories.

becky

daily coyote said...

Jessica - I talked to grandma earlier today and the hospital you mentioned in your comment is one and the same! Hence the request in this post...

LOVE these posts grandma!!
Shreve

Jessica said...

Shreve, I am so excited about this! I am a diligent follower of your blog and was so happy to find your grandmother's blog yesterday -- I love these amazing stories! I have a book about the history of the hospital starting with the Junior League Home, its called More Than a Place. email me at jennistn@gmail.com if your grandmother would like for me to send it to her. I would be so happy to do it. Maybe she is in one of the pictures!

Barbara said...

Well, I wasn't even born then, so Warm Springs, Georgia didn't mean much to me until I googled it (I won't give away the name, though). This blog is teaching me history, too!
Barbara

pogonip said...

Hmmm...my crystal ball is clearing, I'm getting something about an "F".

Jessica, what a small world this is turning out to be with you and svensto being connected. Shreve, thanks for setting this up. I'm loving every story!

MJ's doghouse said...

i would not have had a clue if not for our friend google...i am loving these stories...and very thankful to your grandaughter for mentioning it on the daily coyote so I would find it...I am sure she did it especially for me...thanks...lol..

MJ's doghouse said...

SHREVE...if your grandmothers blog is different than Svensto's blog any change we can read it? Sorry Svensto...but i am hooked and need lots of stuff to read in these cold canadian winters....lol

Bonnie's blog said...

@Becky - I'm 48 the next 11 years for you will be edifying! I love the way Svensto handles all these men throwing themselves at her feet, as a refugee from the Daily Coyote I have to wonder if there is a family resemblance? If there is I can understand the reactions of men in war time NY (or wherever we are now!)

daily coyote said...

MJ - Svensto IS my grandmother's blog.... Scroll to the beginning posts, you'll see Svensto is her paint name (and now her blog name!)

Karen Hargett said...

Great stories - I'm really enjoying reading about your life. You might be interested in a book by Pulitzer Prize winner David M. Oshinsky "Polio An American Story"

JessinChicago said...

I'm so glad you decided to put up the name and url selection to leave comments. I have been anxious to tell you how much I enjoy your blog and how awesome I think your life is, but alas, I have no blogger i.d. or open i.d.

And I know who was in Warm Springs. It took me a minute to remember, but I did. :)

Cats~Goats~Quotes said...

I'm excited about your coming to Georgia!! Still loving your blog, and adding my Thanks to Shreve for introducing us to you!
~ Bobbie

klmvelez said...

Svensto, is there anywhere on the internet we can see your paintings?

I'm enjoying your stories so much. Thanks for sharing.

Haphazardkat said...

Pins and needles--as always :)
Love your blog.

Kat
Vancouver, WA

Melissa said...

Emily - I'm jealous of your wonderful knitted gifts. :)

These posts brighten my day!

scargosun said...

Hmmmm. I don't know. I'll have to think about that one.

VentureSister said...

I'm going to delurk to take a stab at Warm Springs. If I get this right, I am going to be SO stoked. I'm pretty sure I know.

Franklin Roosevelts hot spring, right? For polio treatment?

VentureSister said...

Yes! Can't believe I knew that. Thank you, PBS!

Also, since I'm delurked, I just want to say I adore this blog. You snd your granddaughter are an inspiration and a respite from this crazy world.

Label me officially jealous of Shreve. I LOVE knit socks.