Limping Through Life: A Farm Boy's Polio Memoir

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Product Details
$22.95  $21.34
Wisconsin Historical Society Press
Publish Date
5.7 X 8.4 X 1.0 inches | 0.95 pounds

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About the Author
Jerry Apps has been a rural historian and environmental writer for more than forty years. He has published fiction and nonfiction books on many rural topics, including Ringlingville USA, Casper Jaggi: Master Swiss Cheese Maker, Horse-Drawn Days, Old Farm, and Garden Wisdom for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. He is a former county extension agent and professor at the University of Wisconsin College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Jerry and his wife, Ruth, divide their time between their home in Madison and their farm, Roshara, west of Wild Rose.
In 1947, when he was just 12 years old, the world as Apps knew it was turned upside down. A rural Wisconsin farm boy, Apps was all too familiar with the aches and twinges that came from a hard day helping his family tend livestock and crops. The searing pain that gripped his right leg one November night was unlike anything he'd felt before, however, and something that would not be eased by a few unheard of days of rest or his mother's traditional home cures. Diagnosed with polio and saddled with a crippling limp that could limit his productive life and ability to contribute to his family's welfare, Apps learned to cope and compensate. Frankly describing the emotional and physical challenges that were the disease's legacy, Apps reflectively positions his subsequent academic, military, professional, and personal accomplishments within the framework of a more innocent time and place. A respected historian, environmentalist, and author (Tamarack River Ghost, 2012), Apps' meticulous attention to detail and deep appreciation for those who helped him persevere enliven this poignant memoir.(Carol Haggas, Booklist)

Limping Through Life is well worth reading. It is an engaging Midwestern story of pain, striving, and hard work. Apps's descriptions of his parents' reactions to his illness are priceless and heartbreaking. His father's successful attempt to rehabilitate him through hard work and horse liniment captures both the strengths and weaknesses of farm families facing hardship. They made the best they could of what they had but unfortunately missed the damaged soul that needed tending. This story of farm childhood, polio, and making a new life where a weak leg would not matter is bound to intrigue anyone with an interest in the Midwest, agriculture, or childhood, and makes an excellent addition to the list of recently published memoirs detailing farm life at the middle of the twentieth century. (Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, The Annals of Iowa)