Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

A 16-year old asks his grandfather how polio helped shape his perspective on life

Aidan Gray and Grandfather picture.JPG
Robert Bell and his grandson, Aidan Gray, shared a conversation as part of the StoryCorps Mobile Tour to the Ozarks.

Robert Bell was a toddler when both of his legs experienced paralysis due to polio. He eventually regained neurological control of his left leg, but has always used a brace on the other.

His grandson, Aidan Gray, asks Bell about polio—and how his childhood was different because of his disability.

"I don't think I've ever thought of myself as handicapped. But realistically, there are things I couldn't do," Bell said. "When I was a kid, it didn't slow me down that much. But I couldn't play basketball, and I couldn't play baseball—two things I would've dearly loved to do."

When asked whether he considers polio an absolute curse or perhaps a blessing in disguise, Bell tells his grandson he's grateful.

"I wouldn't want to change anything," he said of his life's experiences. "I don't know how [my life] could have turned out any better than it did."

You can play the excerpt from their StoryCorps interview by clicking the "Listen" button above.