MY PLACE TO STAND by Bentz Plagemann


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A personal record of the period just before, during and after an attack of infantile paralysis, this has none of the aggressively cheerful or intentionally inspirational qualities of other victims' accounts, and is- by comparison- almost withdrawn, paralleling to some extent the author's response and retreat after he was stricken. Opening with his passage from Norfolk to Naples in 1944 aboard an LST where he served as pharmacist's mate, this part is largely concerned with the thoughts of death which were a dominant preoccupation, and the counterbalance of a religious faith rediscovered at this time. The first weeks of sickness in the hospital in Naples; the flight home and the exposure to the outside world which brought embarrassment, self-consciousness, the ""empty, defensive smile of the cripple"". The second half concerns his months at Warm Springs, the regimen and the therapy there, the other patients known, the determination to ""stand"" by Christmas-and its accomplishment, and above all the very special quality of Warm Springs and those that serve there... A reflective, sensitive testimony- perhaps of greater personal value than general interest.

Pub Date: July 22nd, 1949
Publisher: Farrar, Straus