I work as an art teacher at a school for students with intellectual and physical disabilities. Our Principal (Joan Smith) for many years was a strong and very positive lady who suffered polio as a child and then had to deal with many symptoms returning later in life in the form of post-polio syndrome.

Joan edited a book of memoirs, including her own story, of people who had contracted polio in childhood.

When I was five, my mother made me beautiful smocked dresses in soft Liberty prints, so naturally my childhood dream was to own a nylon party dress with lots of stiff petticoats! I finally convinced my Grandmother to take me shopping. We went to Coles and I was allowed to choose my own frock – oh joy – bright yellow satin with layers of embellished organza!

Reading Joan’s harrowing account of her life at the same age made me consider how much most of us take for granted our untroubled childhood years and innocent dreams.

Please click on the picture below to see more photographs and a video of Merilyn’s “Touched by Polio” art work

The Party Frock
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