My friend Pat Simms wrote an article in the State Journal about the big fluoride debate in Poynette, and it brought back a flood of childhood memories not only about fluoridating water, but polio, the red menace, fallout shelters, and the like.
Some dweeb who’s a village trustee in Poynette has “researched” fluoridation on the internet and has determined to his satisfaction that it’s poison. Well, it is, Mr. Dweeb, and so is water, if you drink too much of it. Apparently, he and his little committee just shut off the fluoridation equipment and didn’t tell anybody about it, and when the locals finally found out, they got mad, and are now engaged.
I remember the big debates in my small home town of Hortonville, up in the Fox Valley, about fluoridation back in the 50’s. Joe McCarthy, the man from a few miles away in Appleton who saw commies everywhere, had the public’s eyes and ears. This fluoridation thing was just another commie plot to kill all the capitalists, said Senator Joe. Since I palled around with the village dentist’s kids, at least I had another perspective on putting fluoride in the water. Long story short, the village board went ahead with the commie plot and never looked back.
The article also made me recall something from the same time-frame: memories of standing in line with the rest of the village folks to get the Salk vaccine against polio. We trekked to the high school and stood in line to get the vaccine. The postmaster’s son had polio. He was my age, and struggled to get around with his braces and crutches. The vaccine came too late for him.
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just our proximity to Tail-Gunner Joe’s home base that led to the “atom-bomb attack drills” we had in grade school. We knew so little about the affects of radiation at the time that it was widely assumed that if we could survive the explosion - by ducking under our desks when CONELRAD warned us - we’d emerge unscathed to rise up and fight the commies. For those who didn’t happen to be in school when the commies struck, the basement of the village hall was the officially-designated fallout shelter. We knew fallout was dangerous, but had no clue as to how dangerous until the 60’s.
It’s interesting how the cycles of history work. Growing up in the 50’s, most kids were worried by the prospect of dying in an A-Bomb attack by the commies. First, my kids were concerned they’d become victims of a Columbine-style attack on their school….now, it’s terrorists with “dirty bombs”. What goes around, comes around.