One of my favorite television programs is American Experience on PBS, Channel 5. I watched the one on the polio epidemic. It most definitely shows history repeats itself, even if there are many that want to do away with our history.
Even though Franklin D. Roosevelt had contracted polio, also called Infantile Paralysis, in 1921, the major epidemic for children did not surface until the 1950s. Wytheville, Virginia had the largest outbreak of polio in the summer of 1950. People did not know anything about this disease at that time. School age children would suddenly become sick and their muscles were painful and did not work right. One boy developed polio and the doctor told his parents to burn everything he had as to keep the rest of the family from contracting the disease. They burned clothes, furniture and even his comic books and toys.
President Roosevelt had opened a resort for the polio victims in Georgia. It was called Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. He privately funded this place for anyone with polio. There were healthcare people hired to help with therapy for all ages. When President Roosevelt went to the White House, he appointed his law partner Basil O’Connor as the spokesman for polio. O’Connor realized there was no public money for this disease, so he started asking people to send a dime to the White House. This was where the March of Dimes Foundation was founded. The saying was that they didn’t want big donations from a few, but small donations from millions. By the late 1940s, the foundation was raising $22 million a year.
The March of Dimes funded scientists to find a vaccine for this disease in the 1950s. On July 7, 1952, the first trial was started. This was a vaccine Jonah Salk had developed. This was the same year the disease was the worst it had ever been, all over America. Some of the scientists were against a vaccine, stating it was too dangerous to inject in healthy children. However, O’Connor continued to push for all children to be administered the vaccine. On April 26, 1954, the first vaccine was given to the public and it took a year to see if it really would help. On April 12, 1955, a public announcement stated the vaccine was a huge success.
In Post, one little girl became a movie star because of the polio epidemic. Polly O’Neal, the daughter of Oscar and Lois O’Neal and sister to Charles and Danny, contracted polio in 1951 at the age of three. And by the time Polly was a second grader at Post Elementary, she was a movie star.
During the summer of 1954, Polly had had a successful surgery to straighten her legs due to a simultaneous attack of bulbar and lumbar polio. After her surgery, she went to Gonzales Warm Springs Foundation at Gonzales, Texas, for therapy. While she was at Gonzales, she was chosen as one of four children from the foundation to be in a movie. The movie, “Victory Springs,” was produced at Warner Brothers in California. Tower Theater in Post participated in the 1954 Texas Theaters Crippled Children’s Fund for Gonzales Warm Springs Foundation. It showed the week of Christmas that year, and all collections plus donations went to the foundation. Greer Garson was the star of the movie.
Polly wasn’t the only child in Post to suffer from polio. Another who comes to mind was Sonny Gossett. Sonny walked with crutches all his life, but it hardly slowed him down. He was the County Clerk when I was the County Treasurer. He climbed to the third floor of the courthouse for every Commissioner’s Court meeting while he was in office. To all the people that has suffered with this disease, I give you all the praise.
Polly’s big brother Charles also had polio at the same time. He was not affected as bad as Polly but went to the Gonzales Warm Springs Foundation with Polly a time or two.
Polly only lived a few months after the movie was released. Her heart gave out while she was in tonsillectomy surgery on June 3, 1955. However, Charles recovered from polio and lived a healthy life, climbing poles as an electrician for his occupation. Charles died in July of 2018 after living a successful, happy life with his wife Miriam Smith O’Neal and their four children. Polly’s other brother, Danny, was never affected and lives in Florida today.
Polio was the national disease of the 1950s just like COVID-19 is today. People stayed at home and did not socialize then, too. I wonder if history will repeat itself in another 70 years.
The civilizing influence of women
I have done a lot of thinking through the years about the calming – the civilizing – influence of a woman on a man.
In a marriage it happens slowly, almost imperceptibly, but relentlessly over the passage of years.
It’s the only way it would work with us men. It has to happen slowly and naturally, kind of like the decline of the value of a dollar.
One day, without even thinking, a man comes to the dinner table, chews with his mouth closed and his elbows off the table, just like he thought of it himself. But he didn’t. It came from his mother, or his wife, or both.
Before I met my future wife, the only civilizing effects in my life came from my sister. She was a decade older when I came along and from the beginning was more mother than sister to me.
It was my sister who pounded into me the fact that a gentleman always opens the door for a lady, and that when walking on a sidewalk a gentleman always takes the outer edge – so a really bad driver will hit him first.
Without further explanation, this somehow made sense to me. I didn’t have to give it further thought. Walking next to the curb when with a young lady gave concrete expression to a tendency embedded in my nature.
Men are by nature inclined to protect, but that natural predisposition can come with a gritty, sometimes even harsh, edge. It takes the civilizing influence of a woman to soften the edge so it can be channeled by reason instead of fury.
The civilizing effect of a woman can also calm and steady a man’s natural inclination to risk and adventure. He needs these inclinations to be a protector, but they must be tempered so they can find concrete expression in fatherhood and the protection of a home and family.
If this doesn’t happen, a man can end stuck in a hopeless state of perpetual adolescence – a wandering and irresponsible adventurer, or mercenary, instead of a protector of home, family and country.
Several years ago, I got the bright idea that I would run from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other and back again. My wife quietly reminded me of all the little grandchildren. I heard her –sort of.
To make a long story short, I ended up deep in the bowels of the Grand Canyon late at night, solo and ramblingly sick from heat exposure.
All I could think about as I made my way out of that canyon was, “if something happens and my wife has to pay $10,000 for a helicopter to get me out of here, she is going to kill me.”
The first thing I did when I got out of the canyon, cleaned myself up and recaptured my wits, was to call my wife back in Texas and tell her there would be no more solo runs in the Grand Canyon.
Admittedly, at my age I ought to be pretty calmed and civilized by now, but some men are just slower to develop than others.
I might have, on occasion over the years, resisted my wife’s civilizing influences. I have always thought I would draw the line at any attempt to get me to wear pajamas.
I have rehearsed my response. I am going to tell my wife that cowboys don’t sleep in pajamas, especially the ones that have animals and such on them.
And I don’t think I’ll ever be civilized enough to make small talk at political fundraisers or cocktail parties. But, no doubt due to my wife’s influence, I have learned to smile politely and feign interest in such situations.
It took me years to understand what my wife tried to tell me about appearing distant and unapproachable.
I think it was hard to believe because I genuinely like people and didn’t see myself as I apparently appear. But I eventually got her point and I am trying. I am really trying.
I guess my point in all this is that I am frequently amazed at the importance of women in the formation of good men.
We quite naturally recognize the human attractions between men and women, but we too often stop there. As fine as those attractions are, it’s the subtle complementarity that I find most interesting. The order of it all.
It’s almost as if we were intelligently designed to be that way – that, in some transcendent way, we are better together than we ever could be alone.
But, all that aside, civilized or not, I am not sleeping in pajamas, I am not quitting my occasional cigar, and I am never, ever going to learn to like boiled okra. Email Green at [email protected]
© 2020 Bruce W. Green
Cool ways to beat COVID
Ready for some good COVID-19 news?
You don’t have to replace your old heating and cooling intake vent filter in the battle against the Coronavirus. A dusty filter is more likely to trap those little COVID-19 molecules, or whatever you call those spiny-looking orbs. I read that advice online. Feel free to find conflicting information. I’m sure you can.
Here’s my tip:
Avoid air-conditioned spaces. Sit outside in the fresh hot air.
Seriously, how safe can it be for people to be breathing together in a closed building where the air is mostly re-circulated as opposed to fresh?
If we can’t take the heat, why not go back to water-cooled air? Maybe you remember water coolers – official name “evaporative” cooler. The big squirrel-cage fans sucked air straight from the outside world, albeit though water-soaked excelsior. Excelsior! (That slipped out.) You had to keep windows open so the air could escape and the intake fan would draw better. That’s how I remember it.
You also had to stand or sit right in front of the cooler to stay cool. How nice it was!
EVAPORTIVE COOLER COVID-19 RESEARCH.
Hmmm. Google is not responding well to my quest for evaporative cooling information. I’m learning instead that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have guidelines for “federal, state, local and tribal jurisdictions in the United States considering opening or operating cooling centers during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Cooling centers? Are they government-operated places you go to cool off if you can’t afford to cool your home?
Sounds to me like a Walmart without merchandise. I’d rather go to Walmart if I’m going to be shut up in an air-conditioned space with other people. Just saying.
COOLING CENTER RESEARCH.
“Cooling centers” can be places like libraries, senior citizen centers and shopping malls – the very places now closed or rendered less accessible because of COVID-19. Tribe-owned casinos no doubt qualify as cooling centers. They’re open again. But you can gamble away a lot of money if that’s your choice for how to stay cool for free. I’ll bet they frown on loiterers. Gamble or leave. I could be wrong.
Meanwhile, back to evaporative cooling. It’s not a hot topic online. I’m guessing the powers that be in the world of air conditioning are hesitant to shake things up by suggesting we should abandon refrigerated systems for water-cooled air.
If I were in the evaporative cooling business, I’d be touting the advantages of my product: cheaper to operate and healthier because evaporative cooling constantly introduces fresh outside air.
What’s more, evaporative coolers (also known as swamp coolers) keep humidity levels up whereas refrigerated air is by nature dehumidified. Airborne viruses like COVID-19 float around longer in dry air than humid air. Bring on the humidity.
In conclusion, some nostalgia:
When I was in the sixth grade, our class spent our money made at the school Halloween Carnival to buy a used evaporative cooler for our classroom. I think it cost $10. We were the coolest class.
Keeping Your Cool in Hot Weather
Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet more than 600 people die from extreme heat every year, according to a recent article from the Center of Disease Control.
Getting too hot can make you sick. You can become ill from the heat if your body is not able to compensate and properly cool you off.
The main things affecting your body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather are:
- High humidity. When the humidity is high, sweat won’t evaporate as quickly. This keeps your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need to.
- Personal factors. Age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn and prescription drug and alcohol use all can play a role in whether a person can cool off enough in very hot weather.
Those at highest risk include those 65 and older, children younger than two and people with chronic diseases or mental illness.
Closely monitor people who depend on you for their care and ask these questions:
- Are they drinking enough water?
- Do they have access to air conditioning?
- Do they need help keeping cool?
People at greatest risk for heat-related illness can take the following protective actions to prevent illness or death:
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as you can. Air-conditioning is the number one way to protect yourself against heat-related illness and death. If your home is not air-conditioned, reduce your risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned and using air conditioning in vehicles.
- Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling device during an extreme heat event.
- Drink more water than usual and do not wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
- Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
- Do not use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.
Everyone should take these steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries and death during hot weather:
- Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as you can.
- Drink plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty.
- Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
- Pace yourself.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
- Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
- Never leave children or pets in cars.
Take measures to stay cool, remain hydrated and keep informed.
While scrolling through Facebook, I recently came across an interesting post from Victorian Senior Care. The retirement and assisted living facility, located in North Carolina, had posted photos of their residents holding white boards with the words “Will you be my pen pal?” written across the top. Below, the residents listed their names and some of their interests.
Some of my favorites included Eddie who likes crossword puzzles and astronauts, Diane who enjoys coloring and puzzles, Roberta, a former parole officer who loves murder mysteries and positivity journals, Linda who enjoys reading the newspaper and making new friends and Vickie who simply loves cats.
I couldn’t choose just one.
I immediately decided to write Vickie. Having a cat of my own that I love dearly, it felt right to send her a letter along with a few photos of Nami.
I also decided to write Linda. I ,too, enjoy reading the newspaper. After all, I spend a good portion of my time writing it. I sent her a letter and a few back copies of “The Post Dispatch” that I thought she might enjoy.
I’m still debating on writing Eddie. If you’ve read previous columns of mine, you know that I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. I constantly had my head in books about space and was always watching NASA’s International Space Station livestream. I think we could find some common ground in that.
Victorian Senior Care continues to post residents from nursing homes across North Carolina who are looking for pen pals. Every day I find another person to whom I want to write.
Victorian Senior Care also posts heartwarming videos and photos of the residents receiving their mail. It’s amazing to see how a handwritten letter can make someone’s day.
If you are looking for something to do while being cooped up at home, I highly recommend writing one of these residents or even a resident from our local nursing home.
So, grab a pen and a piece of paper and find a resident with whom you have something in common. If you are feeling giving, the care centers also accept large parcels. So, send them a care package including some of their favorite snacks or puzzle books.
To be my pen pal, email me at [email protected].
By Post Public Library Staff—
This summer is different from all of our other summers.
In other summers, we might be taking carefree vacations, planning barbecues, attending baseball games, or anticipating summer camps. This summer, the COVID-19 pandemic has many of our normal pastimes and activities canceled. Even though we are hopeful, this summer is anything but ordinary.
Whatever your circumstances, we know you’ll be reading. There’s something for every reader to discover — from book recommendations for all ages to fun activities and so much more. This week, we’ll look at a list of top children’s books.
Books for Pre-K readers:
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
The Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
All By Myself by Mercer Mayer
Go, Dog. Go! By P.D. Eastman
The Goose Egg by Liz Wong
Books for growing readers (6-8):
The Bold, Brave Bunny by Beth Ferry
Beware! by Bob Raczka
Egg or eyeball? by Cece Bell
Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Comets, stars, the Moon, and Mars by Douglas Florian.
Great summer reads for 9 to 12-year-olds:
The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
One-Third Nerd by Gennifer Choldenko
Pax by Sara Pennypacker
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia.
Come find your next summer read, pick up a “Summer Reading Log” and get caught reading.
Barbecue Chicken Tostadas
Have leftovers from a recent cookout? This barbecue chicken tostada recipe puts them to good use.
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/8 tablespoon pepper
2 cups coleslaw mix
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup baked beans
2 2/3 cups shredded cooked chicken
2/3 cup barbecue sauce
8 tostada shells
1 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix lemon juice, mayonnaise, light brown sugar and pepper. Toss with coleslaw mix and green onions. Refrigerate until serving.
- Place beans in a small saucepan; mash with a potato masher until smooth. Cook over low heat until heated through, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Meanwhile, in another saucepan, mix chicken and barbecue sauce; cook over medium-low heat until heated through, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- To assemble, place tostada shells on ungreased baking sheet. Spread beans on tostada shells; top with check mixture and cheese. Bake until shells are lightly browned, and cheese is melted. Top with slaw. Serve immediately.
2 tostadas: 612 calories, 29g fat (10g saturated fat), 116mg cholesterol, 1113mg sodium, 51g carbohydrate (21g sugars, 6g fiber), 39g protein.
70 Years Ago: Mr. and Mrs. Paul Hedrick and their two daughters, Kay and Paula, moved to Post in the summer of 1950. Needing a home fast, the Hedrick’s built a bungalow style home on West Fifth street. Complete with white shingle siding, a gray roof and gray trim, colors picked out by Mrs. Hedrick, the home featured a long, narrow porch lining the front. On the inside of the home, a console radio stood against the west living room wall, an ivy streaming down the front. Mr. Hedrick’s easy chair and metal smoking stand sat beside it. The kitchen, directly behind the living room, was painted butter yellow and bright blue. In the master bedroom, the palest rose covered the walls and ceiling. Although the Hedrick’s had lived in their home only three months, they were not newcomers. Both grew up in Garza County, moving back to build a tourist court.
A probable dice game on the east side of town resulted in one man being bound over to the grand jury for billing, another being shot and a third being hit on the head with a gun. Sheriff E. M. Bass reported that five men allegedly jumped Hosie Wynn in his business place. Wynn shot Domingo Jigerino in the leg and hit a man named Perez over the head with his gun. Other patrons and bystanders joined the fray, ending the fight. Wynn was brought before Justice of the Peace J. D. King and bound over to the grand jury on an open charge. No charges were filed against the five men. Perez and Jigerino were hospitalized for their injuries.
Bread prices increased by one cent per loaf. Large loaves were now sold for 24 cents and smaller loafs for 17 cents. The increase in local prices was due to an upsurge in cost declared by Lubbock bakeries who serve Post retailers. A bakery spokesman amounted the increase to “increasing production costs during the year.”
Sonny Gossett, son of Mr. and Mrs. Buck Gossett, celebrated his sixth birthday on Tuesday, July 11, 1950 in the Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas. Gossett, a victim of polio since February, had been residing in the hospital since March. Gossett was said to be showing considerable improvement, now being able to walk on crutches with help.
60 Years Ago: The Intermediate Sunday School Department of the Calvary Baptist Church was entertained with an ice cream supper in the home of Mrs. Mary Kelly. Outdoor games of croquet, ping pong and other table games were played. Refreshments of ice cream, cake and Coca-Cola were served.
The Lynn County Commissioners’ Court announced a plan to finance erection of a new $125,000 jail building on the southeast corner of the courtyard. The present jail, on the top floor of the courthouse, had been threatened with condemnation for years and, accompanied with new state law requirements, its abandonment was forced.
- E. Edmunds killed a 21-pound lynx in the Stanley Sims’ pasture just northeast of town. Edmunds killed the cat with the help of Ed Cummings while hunting in a canyon. This was the second lynx killed by Edmunds in the Sims’ vicinity in 1960.
40 Years Ago: Sheriff Jim Pippin and his crew investigated the death of 13 cows found dead in the Stanley Sims’ pasture. The grown cows, worth about $600 each, were found lying within about an acre of the pasture. Pippin said the animals had not been shot nor poisoned. They appeared to have been killed instantly, one of them laying on its belly with its back broken. Pippin concluded the animals had been killed by lightning during a recent storm.
In hopes of saving on postage, the Garza County Commissioners’ Court approved the courthouse for their own mailing center. The mailing center, which was to be complete with a postage meter, scales and mail clerk, was to handle all outgoing mail for the county offices. The court also voted to pay $3,292.50 to purchase 25 new beepers and base station for the Post Volunteer Fire Department. In a final action, Mrs. Cheryl Walker was approved as the new county extension agent upon recommendation of District County Agent Supervisor Billy Gunter.
With football season on the way, Post High School’s 1980 cheerleaders were getting ready. The girls even attended cheerleading school in Abilene in preparation.
By Elizabeth Tanner
Jalapeno Party Poppers
With the Fourth of July in full swing, folks are firing up their grills. Luckily, this jalapeno party popper recipe serves as the perfect appetizer for any summer cookout or get together.
12 medium jalapenos
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup finely chopped cooked chicken
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
12 hickory-smoked bacon slices, cut in half
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut each jalapeno in half lengthwise; remove seeds and membranes.
- Stir together cream cheese, chicken, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Spoon 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons chicken mixture into each jalapeno half, spreading to fill cavity. Wrap each half with a bacon piece, and secure with a wooden pick. Place poppers on a lightly greased wire rack in an aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven until bacon begins to crisp and jalapenos are softened, about 25 minutes. Increase oven temperature to broil and broil until bacon is crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Living behind the backyard fence
Our new backyard fence keeps us from seeing the traffic in our alley. I didn’t think I’d like it, but I do.
If you close yourself in with a solid fence of cedar planks, your backyard becomes your very own paradisiacal little corner of the world. Anyone roaming the alley is out of sight, out of mind. Perfect.
Even as we speak, I hear the rumble of the garbage truck. You’d have to build a really tall fence not to see the garbage truck roll by. Here it comes.
PAUSE TO RUSH WITH GARBAGE TO THE DUMPSTER.
Not only did I not beat the garbage truck to the dumpster, but it wasn’t even the garbage truck. It looked and sounded like a garbage truck, but it was the trash truck instead – the one for limbs and leaves and branches. They got ours.
What’s more, I discovered my husband has put a lock on our back fence gate. Who knew?
Previously, we had a latch secured with a complicated cord. Think Gordian Knot. Anyone wanting to reach over and trip the latch from the alley side would have been discouraged by all the windings. That was the idea. It seemed to work. But, now we have upgraded that feature to a regular padlock. Ah, security. I’ll have to get a key.
Yep, it’s us against the outside world and the suspicious types who roam alleys. I’m guessing they’re as happy as we are about our new fence. Now they can go through our garbage unobserved.
When you’re dumpster diving, privacy is a plus. Take it from me. Maybe you remember the last time I wrote about dumpster diving. What a find! All those coverless new books in that big recycling bin.
BREAK FOR A STROLL THROUGH THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
For my routine trek up our street, I normally walk either on the sidewalks or in the street itself or both, just like everybody else. This time I took the alley. In its own way, the alley has more to offer. Trumpet vines, for instance. They’re in bloom.
Surprise! I found a nice vegetable garden. Okra, peppers and squash. On the other side of that fence is one of the nicest houses in the neighborhood. You’d never guess they’ve got a humble little alley garden.
Walking the alley is like taking the train. You see the non-pretentious backside of America.
Speaking of trains, that alley vegetable garden reminds me of those narrow right-of-way gardens people plant perpendicular to the train tracks in Europe. Do they still do that? Somebody had a good idea.
I’m tempted to cultivate a little plot alongside our new fence. It’s not too late to plant okra and some other stuff. When I try growing anything at the farm, the rabbits get it. We have no alley rabbits. Just raccoons. And stray cats and people.
We could put up a sign to tell the alley walkers that they’re welcome to take a fresh veggie or two. Noblesse obliges. It’s a lofty feeling.