Dixy Lee Ray, in some ways, grew up with the twentieth century. Born in 1914, her childhood coincided with the early years of the mass production automobile, airplanes, and home electricity. She remembered when her family bought their first free-standing table lamp (1922) and her chores as a young child included emptying the "drip pan" of the family's ice box. Fresh fruits and vegetables were seasonal, at best, and viewed as rare treats. In the world into which she was born, infectious childhood diseases, such as whooping cough, measles, diphtheria, and polio, were facts of life. By the time she died in early 1994, cars, planes and electricity had become so much a part of the fabric of life that they were taken for granted. Also taken for granted was the ability to find a wide variety of even exotic fruits and vegetables at any local grocery store. And medical science had advanced to the point where previously common childhood killer diseases practically had been eliminated. For Ray, there was no such thing as the "good old days." The world of her adulthood was much preferable to the world of her childhood. To her, science and technology had made the world and life better—more healthy and more convenient.



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