However, we have developed a plan! Having shared stories online in the past through the website on 'Our Stories' and with even more time to write, we're trialling a system of sharing our monthly stories on line through the website.
Early this week the first six stories for our March topic, 'Making Waves', were shared on-line. Currently password protected as members have the chance to read, comment on and even add additional stories, the plan is to make most if not all 'Making Waves' stories available for all members to read on the website in coming weeks.
We have three topics for April - choose any or all - with a submission date of Monday April 27th.
- The first topic, suggested by Barry O'Connor as our class follows two days later, is 'Anzac Day'. A chance to reminisce about memories of Anzac Day (or Days) which have stayed with us over time.
- The second topic is inspired by this month's story by Margaret Nelson's story 'Do you remember the polio epidemic' (see below). Has the current COVID-19 ‘Pandemic’ triggered memories for you relating to infectious diseases, whether local, epidemic or pandemic?
- The third topic, as set on our list of topics for the first four months, is 'Winging It' or 'Taking the Plunge' - Do you have a story about taking a risk and winging it?
U3A members who enjoy writing and are finding themselves with more time on their hands are welcome to join with us in sharing stories on-line. All you need to do is to email firstname.lastname@example.org - you can write the story in the body of the email or attach it as a word or pdf document. The suggested, but not heavily policed, word limit is 500 words.
COVID19 - Do you remember the polio epidemic?
“Do you remember the polio epidemic in 1949—50, or previous flu epidemics before vaccinations were available? They were worrying at the time, but nothing compared to the present pandemic, made even more frightening because of the frequent TV updates, and no available vaccine.
I clearly remember the polio epidemic—most people knew of someone who caught the disease and become crippled, or worse, ended up in an iron lung to enable breathing, or even died. The people were advised to avoid crowds.
My most vivid memory is of my first day at Benalla High School. Our family had just returned from a beach holiday on the Saturday for the start of school on the Tuesday. I duly went off on the Violet Town school bus with my local state school friends who started that day, decked out in my new uniform and hat.
When the bell rang, we assembled in the quadrangle, and it was announced that anyone who had not been at their residence in the last two weeks had to stay away from school for the next two weeks. This was scary to a shy little country girl! There were a few others from Violet Town and we had to fill in the day wandering the street and gardens till bus time at 3.30, then go back on the bus with the other children. So much for isolating us from the others.
Another two weeks at home! Fortunately, the local headmaster felt sorry for me and set some maths and English for me so I wouldn’t get too far behind. Eventually I restarted at Benalla High School, but the others had had their intelligence test and were allocated their form and their sports houses.
Not an ideal start, but I got going.
It was much later before a vaccine was produced. Salk, an injection, and later perfected to a syrup, Sabin, which was successful”.
Hopefully a vaccine for COVD19 will soon be available.’
Margaret Nelson, March 2020