Friday, August 10, 2007
WHAT IN THE WORLD?!
A few weeks ago I moseyed over to my neighbor’s yard sale and this caught my eye. Right away I was drawn to it. So I asked my neighbor what it was and she explained that it was built so that babies could sleep on a porch without being bothered by bugs and flies.
Now I certainly don’t need a homemade baby crib with screen on all sides and a side that hinges down so the baby can be lifted out. But this thing intrigued me. At $ 10.00 the price was reasonable enough for what seemed to be a bit of an “antique”. But what in the world would I do with it?
I knew it would take up space I don’t have so I didn’t buy it. But at the end of the day, when the yard sale was over, my neighbor dropped by the house to say they were giving it to me!
Well, I was kind of excited about that but truthfully I still didn’t know what I would do with it. Not exactly the kind of thing I want sitting on my front porch and my back deck is exposed to weather. So what other choices did I have? The basement? Spare bedroom? (hmmmmm…)
Of course, it went on my porch where a proper porch crib should be! Every time I walked by it I was intrigued.
I knew that for decades there’d been a prevailing belief that flies spread polio so I began to wonder if this crib/cage could have been built specifically to protect babies from that dreaded disease.
I called Melinda, the director of Catawba County Historical Association who concurred with this explanation. It so happens that the association is putting together a polio exhibit and she was pleased with the idea of having this artifact.
So this morning I vacuumed it inside and out, polished the wood, and toted it to the history museum in downtown Newton where it received an enthusiastic welcome.
I want to do some more research on this particular item and others like it. But for now, I’m just thrilled that this odd little item has found a way to tell a small part of the polio story.