John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
When we were kids, the Milwaukee Health Department used to hang a quarantine sign on the door of a house when we had measles, mumps, chicken pox, scarlet fever and polio. At that time the doctors were unsure as to what these diseases were caused by and what caused them to spread. Parents used to hope that if one child caught measles, mumps or chicken pox, then maybe all of the kids in the family would get them and become immune to later attacks of the same diseases. Once over the disease, children were not expected to get any further attacks of it. We learned later that chicken pox comes back as shingles and that polio can come back in adult form. At one time they thought that multiple sclerosis was the older comeback of measles, but now that is in doubt. When adults caught these childhood diseases, the results could be fatal. Thought of as a child's disease, the adult version was ignored by person who got it, and their neglect of the illness would cause their deaths.
Now that we know more about these diseases, the health department no longer hangs a quarantine sign on any house. There still are diseases that need a quarantine sign like TB , meningitis and bacterial forms that are immune to antibiotics. Most of these diseases are taken care of in a hospital. Be happy that you no longer have to have a sign posted on your door advising people to avoid contact with you or your family. When the sign was up, none of your friends could come over, unless they had the disease before and were therefore thought to be immune to its effects. Back then, we had no television to watch while sick. We could only read books or listen to the radio. We could hear all of our friends playing outside and want to join them at play. But no, we were confined to the house during quarantine time.
Count your blessings now that you live in a modern world. If you know of anybody who is house bound, spend time to visit them. It could be you in that house one day. Our elderly people and disabled people would love to get visits from people who will spend some time with them. Some day visit a nursing home, and spend some time there just talking to people and making their day complete. One day you might be in their place.
Think of what you would like to do if it was you there. Count your blessings and be happy that you are well and not needy.