Lifeline To the World Outside

The red radioI wasn’t sure this radio still existed, but I found it among things stashed away from my childhood. My aunt gave it to me in 1952 during the seven months I was in the hospital recovering from polio. In those days hospital culture was such that even parents’ visits were strictly limited to a few hours a week, and the hospital staff was so overwhelmed with polio kids that there was no time left to entertain us. Not even to read to us. And of course there was no TV. For a five-year-old who could only lie there and not move a thing, life was pretty boring. When it was clear I would survive, and after the third month, when I began to be able to wiggle toes and fingers, maybe as incentive to try to move more? Aunt Martha sent this radio with my parents. I did become able to reach it, turn it on and tune it in. I memorized the time and place all the children’s programs were on. It was huge in my little world. I’m keeping it.

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