Monday, June 02, 2008
Ventilation, Part 1 (fictionalized history)
Early Summer, 1952
The round, Saturday sun slow-cooked into skin. The cool water lapped it away.
Julia dove for the first time. In the deep end.
Her mom watched. She even clapped until Julia glared her into smiles and silence. Splashes stained the concrete, then steamed away.
Julia's friends laughed and whispered about the lifeguard. Julia dove again and again, and sparkles jumping in the ripples.
The coming summer promised to stretch in oceans of chlorine.
School would end soon.
But they closed every public pool two days later.
(In 1952, polio reached its peak in the United States with 21,000 cases of paralytic polio. The first polio vaccine was introduced in 1955. By 1965, the total paralytic cases had fallen to 61. In this fictionalized history series, we will be experiencing the aftermath of polio, before the dramatic triumph of a vaccine.)