After retiring from Berkshire Farm Center, Leona Scarpinato was a volunteer at the National Archives in Pittsfield, where she assisted others in researching their family histories. She lives in Columbia County where she writes about memories of her own life, as well as stories of her ancestors, for her children and future generations.
It was not unusual for a child growing up in the early nineteen fifties, to get measles, German measles, mumps or chickenpox. Before the advent of vaccines, it was assumed that children would get these childhood diseases and many healthy children were deliberately exposed to sick children to get the disease while they were young.
But there was one childhood disease that was feared by parents and that was polio, also known as infantile paralysis, since the virus mostly struck young children.
I enjoyed school and I looked forward to the new things I would learn. Near the end of the school year, my thoughts were more of summer fun than schoolwork; as I looked forward to carefree summer days, picnics in the park, swimming at the town beach, and riding my bike with friends. We spent the days outside from morning till suppertime, ate quickly and went outside again to watch the arrival of lightning bugs as it started to get dark.