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Many times we would have empty desks in class from
casualties from the night before.

Kaptken, what a frightening experience for a youngster. What you decribe is something no American can imagine, to watch your city being bombed each night and stepping over the craters the next morning. As a parent, I'm in awe of the courage required of people like your mother who had to protect and reassure her children in the face of such terror.

Your comment about those empty desks brought back a long forgotten memory I have of the very early 1950s. When school resumed one September, there were a couple of kids missing from the year before and the teacher told us they had been stricken with polio during the summer and would not be back for a least a semester while they were in treatment. One child never did come back and another little boy I recall returned in metal leg braces. Then the child of one my mother's friends was put in an iron lung. I remember a summer of sheer paranoia on the part of parents who tried to keep the children from public parks and swimming pools, and any events that involved large crowds. For a while it seemed like an epidemic in our town and then suddenly we were all taking a vaccine in a sugar cube and the scare was over.

God bless Jonas Salk.

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