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It Gets Personal

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You cannot really appreciate an organization such as the March of Dimes until someone close to you needs it.

Premature births is the organization’s most recent focus. And that brings me to the reason I have a personal interest in the March of Dimes. Our one and only great grandchild (thus far) is a March of Dimes baby.

I will never forget that frantic phone call in August 2006 from my stepson, asking for our prayers. It was our granddaughter’s first pregnancy, she was in distress, and there was a high risk of losing either or both mom and baby.

Thank God, both came through that horrific ordeal. At 26 weeks, the baby weighed only 1 pound and 8 ounces. As you can see in the photo, her little foot easily slipped into her daddy’s wedding ring. She would spend the first 110 days of her life in the hospital. Thank God again, for the March of Dimes.

Today, just a few months shy of her ninth birthday, this special little girl is a delightful bundle of energy, curiosity, wisdom beyond her years, and a blessing to our family.

This weekend members of her family are participating in a March for Babies in Orlando, Florida, raising awareness as well as money to help other babies who are born too soon.

No Joke

Entertainer Eddie Cantor came up with the idea of donating dimes to fight polio, suggesting the name “March of Dimes,” a play on the radio and newsreel series, The March of Time. Cantor urged people to send dimes to the White House to celebrate President Franklin Roosevelt’s birthday in January 1938. Thousands responded and mailbags filled with envelopes containing dimes, quarters and dollar bills began arriving at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, mostly from children who wanted to help children afflicted with polio. Before it was all over, a “silver tide” of more than $85,000 in small donations had swamped the White House. Roosevelt, diagnosed with polio in 1921, founded the March of Dimes to support polio research and education.

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Marching Along

In 1949 the first person walked 32 miles for the March of Dimes. Beginning in High Point, North Carolina, he walked to Greensboro and back, pulling a wagon into which people donated over $1,700. According to newspaper reports, he has walked over 1,000 miles and collected over $20,000 for the March of Dimes.

March of Dimes Makes History

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Do you remember these? School children in the 1940s and 1950s filled them with dimes and thus contributed to one of the biggest changes in the history of medical philanthropy. Millions of donors gave small donations instead of only a few donors giving large gifts. Giving to medical causes changed forever, and school children knew they had a part in helping to rid the world of polio. Today the March of Dimes continues to collect small donations from millions of donors as part of their fundraising efforts to help babies born prematurely.

Mr. Potato Head

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I’d forgotten Mr. Potato Head did not originally come with a head. This famous toy introduced in 1952 consisted of a box of pushpin eyes, ears, nose, lips, shoes and hat to be inserted into real potatoes or other vegetables or fruit. Three problems emerged: First, consumers considered it wasteful and irresponsible to use food as a toy. Second, the vegetables rotted. Third, the pushpins were sharp. Not to mention, the small pieces could be easily swallowed. A plastic head and government regulations eventually took care of these problems. Also, Mr. Potato Head was the first toy advertised on television directed at children instead of parents? (Some sources claim it was actually the first toy advertised on television.) Sales peaked at over a million, and toy marketing changed forever. By 1974, the plastic potato body had doubled in size, and the Potato family had grown in numbers and popularity. New family members included Mrs. Potato Head, Brother Spud and Sister Yam. Pets were called Spud-ettes. As they say, the rest is history: More accessories, more characters, parade appearances, spokesperson, theme park characters, television and movies, clothing items and much more–all started by a young man named George Lerner who used to make make dolls from fruits and vegetables for his little sisters.

A Heck of a Hack of Potatoes

Funny thing happened while I was doing some research for my next Flavor of the Month post. The reason for THIS post is to help me remember it.

In the midst of browsing through “potato games,” a warning appeared on my computer screen to call Apple immediately because I had a virus (or viruses) that could potentially compromise my security. No matter what I did, the message would not go away, so I figured it was the real deal.

After 90 minutes of talking with computer whiz kids Steve, Dave, Mark and Aybhi (all from India or Pakistan), the problem is now resolved, and with no loss of data. Whew!

However, in my brief browsing through potato games, I could not believe how many are out there. Some of you who play computer games may know about them, but I didn’t. In any case, because I’m afraid that may have been the source of the virus that finally triggered the final warning message, I’m not ever playing around with potato games again.

Potato Quotes

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Seems like somebody has written or said something quotable on just about any topic, even potatoes. Most of the quotable quotes I found refer to “meat and potatoes,” which helped me narrow my selection. Thanks to Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations and Google, here are three I like.

“What small potatoes we all are, compared with what we might be.”–Charles Dudley Warner.

“What I say is that, if a fellow really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”–A.A. Milne.

“Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism are all very good words for the lips.”–Charles Dickens.