Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Today I was at my computer wondering why my brain felt so sluggish when the phone rang. “Joyce,” said the voice at the other end. “This is Jane. We’re at the Olive Garden. Are we having lunch?”

“Oh my gosh! I forgot." (I told you my brain was sluggish!) I’d made a date with Jane and her dear friend Teen last week. I’d actually never met either one of them so when I did get to the restaurant I didn’t even know whom I was looking for.

I should’ve told Jane I’d be the one who looked like I’d just thrown some clothes on and left without combing my hair. In fact, I was cleaning blackberry stains from under my thumbnail on the way over!

Jane had polio during the Hickory epidemic in which BLUE takes place and she wrote a lovely review of BLUE on Amazon. (Her review is the one entitled I lived through this epidemic & also survived polio.) She also left such a fun message on my answering machine that I kept it there for days – listening to it repeatedly because it did such a nice job of stroking my ego. (And because Jane is so expressive and fun to listen to!)

Last week I sent her the sequel and she left another message. And yes, I’ve listened to it a few times – more ego stuff going on. At any rate - we’ve had this email friendship and spoken by phone a few times. She’s been helpful as I tried to understand what it was like to go back into the world after having polio. She has become one of my many experts!

Jane’s friend, Teen married Moe Fox who got polio at age 16. They had a long and wonderful marriage together before he died in the late ‘90s. I was glad she brought her scrapbook along so I could see this inspiring man who lived life from a wheelchair - and to the fullest! Moe was a radio announcer, teacher, "counselor", musician, and countless other things I can't remember! Most of all he was a trusted friend!

Teen surprised me by loaning me a book We Made Peace With Polio which I’d been wanting to get my hands on. (How did she know?!) It’s the story of two sisters from Lenoir, NC who got polio in the 1953 epidemic just one year before Salk tested his vaccine out.

It was also the summer I moved to North Carolina. I was one year old. Apparently, my parents had no idea they were moving 6 children into an area that was rife with polio. We’ve certainly discussed polio and a few people in the area they knew who had it but they never mentioned an epidemic during that time.

At any rate I’m thrilled they brought me to North Carolina. The south is truly my home. And it’s filled with so many big-hearted people – like Jane and Teen. (see below!)

Thanks for lunch ladies! If I promise not to be 45 minutes late, can we do it again sometime?

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