I Remember This: The Girls With the Black Bars Over Their Faces

2 side by sde b/w photos of a young white woman wearing only a Milwaukee back brace, with black bars covering her eyes and breasts. On the left is her back, on the right, she's in profile.

Source: researchgate.net: (Reprinted from Blount WP, Schmidt AC, Bidwell RG. Making the Milwaukee brace. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1958;40:526–528 with permission from Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc., Needham, MA.)


1977. I am 11 years old. I am half-naked in a crowded hospital hallway.

I’ve gotten ten steps down the hall from the exam room where my mother is waiting before I fully appreciate that my fish-white thighs are fully on display.
My thighs are doing their best to walk the rest of me onward. The rest of me is wearing underpants, an all-too-sheer white t-shirt, and a Milwaukee back-brace.
The words, You are half-naked in public, explode in my mind like a bad-dream bomb.
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