In the early morning hours of today, August 15, 2005, the world lost a wonderful lady.
For those of you who did not know her personally, Virginia Cyr was a truly beautiful
person. She was loved and respected by hundreds of people. She was a woman who,
while she did not know it, was a pioneer. She succumbed to Post Polio Syndrome. PPS
is where Polio returns to claim those that escaped its grasp early in life.
While a young girl of 4 ½, Virginia was stricken with Polio during the New England
Hurricane of 1938. She was on of those kids you she the pictures of who were in an
Iron Lung. She received one of this country's first muscle transplants in her left leg. She
was victorious over that first bout. Blessed with a tenacious attitude, this little girl
worked her way out of the Iron Lung; endure thousands of hours of physical therapy at
a time when the professionals were making the procedures up as they went along. She
was able to shed her leg braces until the extra strain of carrying children forced her to
resort to one full-length brace.
While she couldn't go out and see the world, she brought the world to her. She
amassed a large collection of 78's - of the Big Bands. She listened to a world at war
over the radio. Amazingly, she had an autograph book that contained the names of
Movie Stars like Don Amicee, athletes like skater Sonja Henning, the ENTIRE 1939
Boston Red Sox (with a rookie name Ted Williams) and even Eleanor Roosevelt. How
did she get these? She would ask someone who would be at an event to get the
autograph. In many of the cases, like Mrs. Roosevelt, she mailed her book with a letter
requesting that they please add their name to her collection and mail it back.
She went on to graduate from high school in 1948. It was an amazing feat for a young
woman of immigrant parents who had been crippled most of her youth. She was one of
the first in that group of "independent" women. The ones we now call a "Working Full
Time Mom." She married, had three boys, and endured a far less than ideal marriage
until the late sixties, when she became one of the first single working mothers.
Realizing the need to be at home for her boys while still earning a living, she became
the local News
Correspondent for the Milford Daily News. She had no training, no fancy degree in
Journalism, just an old Olivetti-Underwood typewriter, a pile of newsprint, the phone and
her car. A grouchy old news reporter- editor named Nick Tosches, showed her the
ropes and guided her during the first few months.
She went on to not only report on the Garden Club and births and marriages, she
began to cover local politics and other local more serious stories. In a time when
"Handicapped Accessible" was not even thought of, she would fight stairs to get to a
news story. At times, she would send me. What a way for a politician get ambushed!
Give a quote to a 13 year old and it ends up in the next day's paper!
She loved doing human-interest stories. The longer the story, the better it was. Mom
was paid by the inch, not the hour. Many times people would call her and thank her for
the job she did. Other times those she caught in the act would curse her! She
continued to write for the News for over 30 Years.
Her kids were her life. All of her work and energy went to that end. We got the best part
of this wonderful person that so many people know and respect.
She is survived by three sons, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren and
hundreds of friends. Mike Cyr, August 15, 2005.
can find them by going to the homepage and entering her name in the site search box.
Vanilla Coke 94 Freedom Street
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