It was the spring of 1952. I was 5 years old and looking forward to starting school in the fall We didn’t have kindergarten so this would my first year of school. We lived on the farm north east of Wells. I begin having trouble with my left knee and developed a limp. My parents took me to the doctor in Bennington and he examined me and x-rayed my knee and couldn’t find anything wrong with it. My patents decided that I was faking to draw attention to myself. One afternoon my mom was hosting her women’s club. All of the women would bring their children and we would play outside in the yard while the moms had club in the house. That day my knee hurt so bad that I wasn’t able to run and play so I stayed on the front porch. I sat on the porch and played the sheriff. When dad came home from work mom told him there was definitely something wrong because I had stayed on the porch all afternoon with all of those kids there.
So mom & dad took me to Minneapolis to see Dr. Foutz. As I was walking back to the exam room Dr, Foutz said “why that boy has Pertheis disease. As we learned this is a disease that affects young children, mostly boys age 4 to 10. It’s a rare disease affecting only 1 -3 in 20,000. With Pertheis the ball of the hip joint dissolves causing a limp and pain in the knee.
Treatment involves traction and a brace. I spent 30 days in Asbury Hospital in the children’s ward flat on my back with my left leg in traction. For some reason Ray & Fred weren’t allowed to come into the children’s ward to visit me. The ward was on the ground floor so we were able to open the window by my bed and talk that way.
When I got out of the hospital I had to wear a brace on my left leg and an elevated shoe on my right foot.