🌲🏘️🌳 History Stories Polio Survivors and Community

Polio Survivors and Community

by Annie Wilkinson

My parents Ralph and Evelyn Wilkinson were original owners on Knoll Lane, from 1949 or 1950

(I was 4 or 5 when we left our Elmhurst apartment to move to Roslyn Heights).

Here’s a bit of Club trivia: My older sister (by 10 years) Joan Wilkinson was a teenage polio survivor who would wheel her wheelchair up the Club hill a block from our Knoll Lane house in the summertime. She’d knock on the back door and the lifeguards, her pals, would let her in (without checking for membership). She’d hang out with them next to the high-diving board. Later, when I was a teenager, I’d take my little sister to the Club kiddie pool every morning during the summers. I seem to remember that the cost was around $100 per family to join for a season.

What I recall most vividly from my childhood there — aside from having a panic attack after climbing to the top of the jungle gym by the tennis courts and being too scared to get down until the fire department arrived to help me climb back down (my mother was a great believer in calling on government services) — was how my neighbor playmates and I would cut through the backyards and side yards, ducking under the big trees if it rained. There were no fences, just lots of large thirsty green lawns, perfect for running on. And everybody knew just about everything about everybody — which was both a blessing and a curse! 

Read the story about when Joan, Annie’s sister (the polio survivor), had her wheelchair stolen from their driveway. And how it was replaced.