The deadly covid surge and the related, stymied vaccination campaign have me lately thinking of the mid-20th century — literally in the middle of, not retro kitchen decor — when children and adults were required to get polio vaccines. To avoid paralysis or death, we took the medicine. It was simple and for the greater good.
I don’t recall my first polio injection or the small pox one, though I still have the pox scar on my shoulder. But the memory of the sugar cube of the later, more effective Sabin vaccine is vivid. In 1962 we assembled at the junior high gymnasium in my Louisiana hometown. No protest banners waved on the playground. No angry shouts. At the dawn of the space race, science was respected.
Hundreds of tiny white paper cups, like those for ketchup at the malt shop, held bright pink sugar cubes. We kids were happy.