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52 Weeks Of Personal Genealogy History

Monday, December 20, 2010

Amanuensis Monday 04 Mama's Letters To Family 1952 The Threat Of Polio Is In The Air

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme many months ago called Amanuensis Monday.
What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

Today I am sharing a letter I have come across that my mother wrote to her family June 1952. She wrote this on letter head from a company my father either worked for or had worked for.

Here is a little back ground. My parents moved to Texas so my father could go to bible college. They lived in Highland and Bay town and I was born in San Antonio so they lived there also.

Mama came down with the terrible disease of Polio in 1952 and they did not expect her to live, but she did live to the age of 76. She was 30 years old and the mother of two adorable little girls.

Bay town, Texas
June 8, 1952

Dear Mom, Dad, Daisy, Lil, Don & Bonita

Just a short letter tonight as I'm not feeling a bit well. I've had the flue yesterday & today & really feel weak. I was terribly sick yesterday I ache all over and had a fever of over 102 degrees. Today my fever is down but I still ache & and I have a sore throat. It's so hard too when I'm sick as there are things that just have to be done, such as taking care of Grace (me 3 3/4 years old) & Mary (1 3/4 years old). If I was dying I'd have to stay up. I was a little afraid to as there's so much Polio going around and my neck felt stiff. & I hurt all over. The day before ( Friday) I took Mary & had the doctor give her a shot of Penicillin as she had a real high fever. He said it was caused by a real sore throat. She had the fever Thursday evening too. She's been feeling fine yesterday & today. I probably should of had a shot too as It takes a while for it (flu) to wear off & I feel like I've been in bed two weeks I'm so weak.

Arthur has been doing quite well the last week. He took a drop in sales the last 2 weeks of May. He changed from selling to teachers to Federal Employees & it took a couple weeks to get things to rolling again. I'm enclosing a letter from Mr. M of the World Insurance Co. Of course I have to brag about my daddy a itty bit ha!.

Well daddy you, Arthur & Don will be big shots next Sunday as it's papa's day. Arthur kids me & asks if he can have breakfast in bed. I say " No, indeed, I didn't get breakfast in bed on Mother's day."

She goes on to write about sending a mother's day card to Bessie my father's step mother, her cousin Don having to go into the arm service. Then ends with

Well, I must close soon. I'm not very newsy tonight I'll write more later when I get to feeling better. Pray for me.

love and kisses Muriel & all.
On June 14th 1952 my father sent a money order and message to my grandparents saying that "my mama was doing fine. Meet you Monday afternoon. "
From the newspaper that same date there is an article saying see she went to the hospital in an ambulance. My father probably did not want to worry them to much or could be he never wanted to think things were as bad as they were.

I am so glad that have these and other family letters. I feel it is so sad that so much is said on the Internet instead of written word that can be passed on.

that's me with the mouth open trying to catch flies I think and my sister in front of the house we lived in at that time. We really lived in half of it since it was a duplex.
This last year my sister and I went to visit Bay town and at the library we were able to print newspaper articles of when my mother was in hospital. I will continue to share these over the next days and will making copies to give to my sister, brother and children.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing a little of my family history with me.. Grace


  1. This post really struck home with me because I was just discussing polio with my Mom over the weekend. In 1952 she was a student nurse at the Children's Hospital in Boston, and there were many terrible cases of polio. She remembers it as if it were yesterday. Just a few years later the vaccine was developed, but she spent many years caring for the victims who were disabled for life, some in iron lungs. Your mother was very lucky to escape the long term terrible effects. Thank you for sharing, your post has made me determined to write down her memories before they are lost.

  2. yes please write down your stories while you can. I am glad I have the little I have, wish others had given me their stories