Friday, August 10, 2007


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.


  1. That piece of furniture is very intriquing. I can understand your being drawn to it. What a wonderful thing that it fits into your polio research and can find it's home in a special display. I imagine the recepients were as excited to receive it as you were to contribute it towards such a great cause.

  2. It looks like a cage which is kind of scary but the pink mattress makes it friendly and really it was handcrafted with protection in mind which is very sweet. I would really like to find out more about it. I need to go back to my neighbor and pay more attention to the details this time - who is belonged to etc.