If there’s one thing Grampa (Thomas) Walsh can talk about for hours on end, it’s those bygone summer days spent playing Marco Polio in the lakes and ponds of Buffalo, New York.
“Ah, I was the king of the lakes in those days,” said Walsh from the Sunset Daze Nursing Home in West Seneca, New York.
“Not only were the other children terrible swimmers, but many had polio, which of course made it that much easier for me to win,” he said. “Nothing makes you feel stronger than competing against the infirm.”
Walsh, who also dominated the other children in baseball, basketball, tag, kickball, mumblety-peg, running races, bicycling, punching, football, and red rover, said Marco Polio had a special place in his heart.
“What made Marco Polio so rewarding for me,” said Walsh, “Was that to the people watching us, we all appeared to be normal, healthy kids. Little did they know that beneath the surface those little fluttering, polio legs of theirs were only operating at about ten percent. Their unseen disadvantage helped me tremendously. Especially with the ladies!”
Grampa isn’t the only one who enjoys reliving his glory days, as his twenty-four grandchildren continually ask to hear his stories over and over.
“Oh yes, Grampa’s twisted polio game is a big hit with our kids. I kind of wish he’d start forgetting stuff like old people are supposed to,” said Tim Walsh, Grampa’s eldest son. “The polio story creeps me out, to be honest.”