Amazingly, growing up I had no knowledge or contact with polio and even in adulthood I was not aware of anyone who had had polio until relatively recently.
I was, of course, aware of the disease and its effect on growing children and remember being inoculated against it at about the age of 12.
It was not until I was asked to help with a book that recorded the memories of children who had had polio that I gained any real knowledge of this devastating illness and its later return in the form of post polio syndrome.
Joan Smith, the editor and a contributor of her own memoir, had been my principal at the special school I had taught at for many years.
Joan introduced me to Marlene Wookey and together we wrote Marlene’s story which is included in the book of memoirs The Calliper Kids.
During the process of writing this story I gained a huge respect for these children who had, with determination and humour, overcome the effects of this childhood affliction.
In my art work “The Long Climb” the leg has become an allegory of a tree of life up which a figure, despite the difficulty of callipers, climbs away from the play land that is childhood in order to reach the full fruits of adult life.
Please click on the picture below to see more photographs and a video of Pauline’s “Touched by Polio” art work
The Long Climb
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