My friend Anne drove down from Richmond for a long weekend visit. I took off work to enjoy her company. Similar in age and worldview, Anne is always a treat. We are both academics, both well- traveled, and both have an obsession to create.
Our plan was to drive to Warm Springs., eat fried green tomatoes at the Bulloch buffet, and tour President Roosevelt’s surprisingly modest little white house and museum. The museum, filled with memorabilia of both FDR and Eleanor, focused heavily on his disability from polio. Warm Springs had long provided relief from the pain for sufferers and offered a respite for Roosevelt as well.
How ironic that on the same day as our road trip, the headlines in the New York Times about poliovirus, the virus that causes paralytic polio, was detected in sewage “suggesting likely local circulation of the virus.”
Readers my age remember iron lungs, braces and polio vaccinations provided in schools before they became mandated as a condition of attendance. Like measles, polio is preventable via vaccination. Why would anyone risk the lives of their children when the science and our experience are irrefutable?
The juxtaposition of my visit to Warm Springs and the headlines in the news underscored for me the connection between events in my life and the current events. We are affected by the world around us. We are responsible for what is happening and for being part of the solution.
Let’s not let the past become our tomorrow.