All posts by boyne582013

Dennis Boyne has led two lives for the past thirty years. On the Corporate side, Dennis is a former District Manager for AT&T and is presently a consultant in computer applications for Legacy Solutions. He serves on two boards, Public Policy for the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and ProJeCt of Easton. He is a former board member of the Chamber’s Small Business Council and WDIY radio. Dennis’ second life is one of show business and entertainment. He is the past artistic director of Philemon Productions in New Jersey and was part owner and Creative Consultant for New Jersey Public Theater in Cranford, NJ. He has acted, produced or directed over seventy productions. He won the New York Daily News Drama Critic Award, New Jersey Edition for his portrayal of Marat in the play Marat/Sade. Lately Dennis was a member of the improv group Improvolution in New York and has studied Storytelling with John Flynn of Upright Citizens Brigade also in New York. He continues to work with improvisation groups and storyslams. He has appeared in Scranton Storyslam and West Chester Storyslam as well as the storyslam at the Gotham nightclub in New York. Dennis has written plays including Spirit, Christmas Eve, Advent and The Key to the Sword and Stone. He is presently in the process of writing his first children’s story called Jake at Church. Dennis lives with his wife Nancy in Easton, Pa and Elk Mountain.

Polio Pioneer

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I lived in a small town in Illinois called Naperville.  Today it is a city of close to 200,000 people but when I lived there the population was 4000.  It was mostly a town of German immigrants with half being catholic and the other half being various detonations. 
 
It was a great place to be a kid and grow up.  We lived across the street from the catholic school and kitty corner from the church.  The population was a combination of farmers and factory people.  We had a magnificent public swimming pool built by the WPA in the thirties and band concerts in the summer.  We had a huge Memorial Day Parade. It was so enormous that there were few people to watch the parade. Most were in it.
 
In 1952 and 1953, the U.S. experienced an outbreak of 58,000 and 35,000 polio cases, respectively, up from a typical number of some 20,000 a year.   It was a terrible time;  TV was relatively new in those days but I can remember seeing pictures of children that were stricken in iron lungs.  For those of you that don’t know what an Iron lung is, it is a contraption the size of a boiler.  Some people had to be in their iron lung 
I remember going to the school playground to play on Tuesday afternoon and it was filled with cars.  The playground at the catholic school doubled as a parking lot for Sunday mass.  But this was Tuesday.  What was going on?
 
I went home to see my Mom and she was not there.  My Grandmother was in here room saying her rosary.  You dared not disturb her when she was running the beads.  Finally my Mom came home.  I asked here where has she been. 
 
She was at the church with the entire town praying for three kids that came down with polio.  All were in an iron lung and one did not make it.  The town was in a panic.  They shut down the pools at the YMCA and the public pool until they could determine if they were the cause of the outbreak.
 
The next school year I participated in one of the largest clinical trial that was held in that time.  Over 1.4 million children from the first three grades participated.  Half were given the polio vaccine and half given a placebo.
 
Being eight years old, I only remember forgetting my permission slip signed and having to go home and getting it.  Then in the all purpose room, I can remember probably twenty or thirty stations set up with doctors and nurses grabbing kids from the line and giving them the shot.  The sugar cube was not available. 
 
I also remember the whole room filled with kids yelling and screaming because of the shot.  I didn’t cry.  For some reason shots never bothered me.  After the shot, they gave us a card that said that we were polio pioneers.  It was a great card that I kept in my wallet for years to come.  Being eight at the time there wasn’t a lot of stuff you had to put in your wallet.
About a year later we learned that the polio vaccine trial was a success.  Everyone was happy except for the kids that got the placebo.  We had another episode of crying and yelling because they had to get the real shot.

Santas from my two Sisters in Law

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At Christmas time we have a lot of stuff we put out.  I cherish all the lights and decorations we have.  I especially get a kick out of two Santas that were given to me by my sisters in law.  Marie sent me one year.  It was pretty fancy with a mink lined coat for Santa.  Eileen gave me a more rustic Santa.  Eileen is not with us anymore but I feel her presence every time I look at this wonderful gift.