Partial Transcript: So, do you remember ever having stories about your birth talked about?
Segment Synopsis: Sabin introduces her early life and childhood.
Keywords: 1935; 1939; 1950; A. Sabin; birth; C. Fischer; C. Osgood; Cincinnati, Ohio; Clifton; D. Sabin; fever; Jews; K. Osgood; M. Chumakov; M. Milovanovie; New York, New York; P. Fischer; pre-Civil War; R. Chanock; Russian; S. Fischer; S. Krugman; Sabin Hilton; scientists; Tumakov; Underground Railroad; vaccine trials; virologist; W. Reed; wedding
Subjects: Denmark; Egypt; Korea; Medical Corps; Rockefeller Institute; South Pacific; U.S. Army; WWII
Partial Transcript: Do you remember your father speaking to them in Russian?
Segment Synopsis: Sabin shares her knowledge on her father’s background and family history.
Keywords: 1905; 1906; 1917; A. Sabin; AIDS/HIV; B. Sabin; Bialystok; chlamydial; congenital amblyopia; D.Sabin; English; F. Sabin; French; German; Hebrew; hydrocephalus; internment camp; Italian; J. Sabin; Jews; occupation; pogrom; Polish; polygot; Portuguese; R. Poczykowski; R. Sabin; Russian; S. Benison; S. Krugman; S. Sidney; S. Tregillus; Sapierstzehn; sociologists; Spanish; Tammany Hall; textiles; The Immigrants; trachoma; Yiddish; Zabludow
Subjects: Ellis Island; Holland; Israel; New York; Prussia; WWI
Partial Transcript: Sylvia Tregillus Sabin
Segment Synopsis: Sabin describe her mother’s family, childhood and life with Albert Sabin
Keywords: A. Sabin; A. Tregillus; B. Tregillus; caiman; Calgary, Canada; Chicago, Illinois; Chillicothe, Ohio; civil engineer; Communist Party; dental school; Dirndl; dolls; English; Evanston, Illinois; F. Castro; F. Wright; French; G. Gould; German; I. Stern; Irish; Lederhosen; prison; R. Peters; Rolex; Scottish; symphony; vaccine trials
Subjects: Cuba; England; Illinois; Israel; Northwestern University; Russia
Partial Transcript: You know, going back a little bit to—I’m thinking about your parents when they first got together and what it must have been like because he was Jewish, she was Christian Scientist and he was a doctor, marrying into a Christian Science family.
Segment Synopsis: Sabin talks about how her parents met and his life in Israel.
Keywords: 1972; A. Sabin; Catholic/Protestant; Chautauqua circuit; Chicago, Illinois; Christian Science; composer; Eastern European; Florida; Fogarty Scholar; Fort Detrick, Maryland; H. Dunshee de Abranches; Holocaust; Jewish; M. Leide-Tedesco; New York; North Carolina; S. Sidney; Seder; Shiksa; South Carolina; Unitarian; Uzis; Washington, DC; Zionist
Subjects: All-City College Prep High; Christian Science Monitor; England; Florida; Israel; Lister Institute; National Institutes of Health; North Carolina; Rockefeller Institute; Six-Day War; Weizmann Institute of Science
Partial Transcript: And he had—when was it that he went to Brazil?
Segment Synopsis: Sabin converses about her father’s second and third marriage.
Keywords: 1972; Birmingham, Alabama; Blackie Jr.; Cleveland Clinic; Duke University Nursing; family photos; H. Dunshee de Abranches; J. Warner; M. Warner; mink coat; open heart surgery; Palm Beach; Power of Attorney; T. Shirley; The Breakers; Washington, DC
Subjects: Brazil; Duke University; Israel; North Carolina; O Globo
Partial Transcript: Now around the time that you went to school at Duke, [Dr. Samuel L] Sam Katz and [Dr.] Catherine [M.] Wilfert came into your life.
Segment Synopsis: Sabin discusses her collegiate life and adulthood with the Katz, Wilfert and Chanock family.
Keywords: B. Chanock; C. Lamb; C. Wilfert; Catholic; Cincinnati, Ohio; D. Herberg; genome; J. Hoover; Jewish; P. Lamb; R. Chanock; S. Chanock; S. Katz; Seattle, Washington; sophmore; Washington, D.C.
Subjects: All-City College Prep High School; Duke University; Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation; FBI; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Gates Foundation; Israel; National Institutes of Health; Vietnam; Vietnam War
Partial Transcript: You had talked about too, the scientists’ sons that you had—
Segment Synopsis: Sabin talks about the role of her father and the Chancocks in her life.
Keywords: A.Sabin; Acapulco, Mexico; appendix; B. Chanock; biological daughters; C. Horn; C. Lamb; Cincinnati, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; dancing; dental; F. Chanock; germophobic; Greek; hemophilia; J. Chernetski; J. Melnick; J. Warner; Jane Warner; K. Horn; Las Vegas, Nevada; law school; M. Horn; M. Ramos-Alvarez; married; Mexico City, Mexico; Miami Beach, Florida; money; mono; music; P. Lamb; pain management; Palo Alto, California; R. Massie; Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; road trip; S. Alperin; S. Chanock; Sammy Davis Jr.; San Francisco, California; scientific sons; Seattle, Washington; T. Spanos; Yakima, Washington
Subjects: American Academy of Pain Management; Beverly Hills Hotel; Case Western Reserve University; England; Mexico; National Institutes of Health; New York University; NIH; NYU; Texas; University of Cincinnati; Weizmann
Partial Transcript: Continuing on. We were going to talk a little bit about the polio vaccine. And when it was announced that there was a live polio vaccine that was invented by your father what that was like for you.
Segment Synopsis: Sabin wraps up with her experiences growing up during the polio immunization effort and its impact the on her life.
Keywords: A. Leibovitz; All-City College Prep High School; anti-vaccers; blood draws; booster; candy/ice cream; Cincinnati, Ohio; clinician; D. Salk; doses; eradication program; F. Gilot; herd immunity; Honor Society; human guinea pigs; Humanities; Immunization campaign; immunization campaign; J. Salk; Jewish; language pathologists; Maricopa County; Maurice Hilleman; measles; medical field; MS; mutant; Oral; P. Picasso; P. Salk; paper bag; paralytic; Pediatrics Department; polio; practitioner; psychiatrist; Rotary clubs; Sabin; Salk vaccine; school; stool cup; Sundays; swabbed; Tournament of Roses parade; trails; vaccine
Subjects: Afghanistan; Cisco Systems; Duke University; Egypt; Gates Foundation; HIV/AIDS; Israel; New York University; Nigeria; NYU; Pakistan; Rotary International; University of Cincinnati; University of Washington; WHO; World Health Organization
TORGHELE: Today is October 5th, 2018. I am here in Portland, Oregon with DeborahSabin, who is a Certified Nurse Practitioner who specialized in chronic disease and pain management. Also, of note is the fact that Debbe is the oldest child of Albert Sabin, the developer of the oral polio vaccine. My name is Karen Torghele and I will be talking with Ms. Sabin for the Global Health Chronicles Oral History of Polio Project. So, first of all, thank you so much for agreeing to participate in this project.
SABIN: Well thank you Karen. It's taken you a long time to convince me to do it.So, I think I'm glad that I'm doing it. We'll see what happens, but it's been a process that's triggered a lot of interesting memories and things that--we'll just see where it goes.
TORGHELE: Well, I am so glad you're here.
SABIN: Thank you. I'm happy that you came to Portland and I didn't have totravel to Atlanta.
TORGHELE: First of all, let's talk a little bit about your beginnings, where yougrew up, what your childhood was like, and we'll get started with that. So, do you remember ever having stories about your birth talked about?
SABIN: Well my parents were married in 1935 while my father was, I think, stillat Rockefeller Institute at New York and he was applying for professorships in the Northeast, faculty positions. At that time in 1939, universities had quotas on the number of Jews they would take so he kept moving further west with his applications until he finally got to Cincinnati and that's the reason they ended up in Cincinnati. So, they moved there in 1939, first lived in Kentucky and then moved into this very large pre-Civil War mansion in the Clifton area of Cincinnati, which was not too far from the University of Cincinnati. They lived there by themselves for 10--11 years, well 11 years in Cincinnati and I wasn't born until 1950. I was 15 weeks old on their 15th wedding anniversary and there are two family stories that circulate about how I came into being. One is that he was complaining in the lab that his wife didn't have enough to do, and they said, "Oh, have a baby." The other one was from Saul Krugman's family. Saul, another famous virologist who was his first cousin, his daughter told me that, "No, no, no, that's not true. Your parents sailed to Europe on the Queen Mary in 1949 and my parents met them at the dock with a bottle of champagne and very specific instructions on how to use it." I was conceived somewhere in Denmark, probably Copenhagen because I'm known as the Danish baby. So, I arrived on May 30th, 1950 and 15 weeks later was their 15th wedding anniversary. My younger sister Amy [Tregillus Sabin] arrived 19 months after that-- I don't know how she came to be. So, all I know is that I was a very small baby, low birth weight, not below the norm, but 5 pounds 9.5 ounces. My mother did smoke during her pregnancy. The one picture I have of what I think is her at term-- not very big. Amy weighed a little bit more. But I don't know if I was a C-section or a vaginal delivery. I'm thinking it was probably, you know, I don't know, I don't ever remember seeing a scar on her abdomen until she had her hysterectomy so I'm thinking it must have been a vaginal birth. But, she must have been heavily sedated because my father-- their plan had been to name me Victoria, the Victory, but somewhere along the line after I was born, he looked at me and decided I was not a Victoria and when she woke up, he told her I was Deborah. So, that's about what I know from my birth. Then Amy arrived a year and a half later and I don't know anything about her birth-- I don't know if she does either. I don't know.
TORGHELE: She wasn't a Victoria either?
SABIN: Nope, she wasn't a Victoria either. You know my mother was a perennialsmoker until she died so I'm assuming she smoked through her pregnancies because it wasn't a big deal back then.
TORGHELE: Yeah, they didn't know.
SABIN: And we now know, of course, low birth weight babies are a result ofsmoking. So, Amy was like 6 pounds 2 ounces or something, so we were both small infants. I think we were probably bottle fed as everybody was back then. But yeah, don't really know much. I know that when Amy arrived, I don't remember a birth announcement for me, but when Amy arrived my father drew a graph that had their marriage in 1935 and then using incremental years going out and months going up this way. In May of 1950 there was a little stork picture and my name and then a year and a half later, in January there was another little stork with Amy's name. That was the birth announcement so.
TORGHELE: Aw, that's kind of sweet.
SABIN: I don't think either one of us know any more than that about early years.
TORGHELE: I suppose your father wasn't in on the delivery.
SABIN: I don't think so. You know, I did get a letter from him one time tellingme that after I was born, he drove home more carefully than he had ever driven before because this great weight of being a parent now rested upon him. But I think shortly after I was born, he got sent to Korea.
SABIN: Because there are pictures of me as an infant with him in uniform. So, Idon't think he was around very much. He came back long enough to conceive my sister.
TORGHELE: And he had been in World War II, as well.
SABIN: He had--shortly, yeah-- they--I think he got, shortly after, well let'ssee--when did World War II start? I don't even--that's terrible--
TORGHELE: In '44?
SABIN: Terrible history on my part, but shortly after the start of the war hewas drafted into the Medical Corps [of the U. S. Army], went in as a Major and was sent to the South Pacific. And went in ahead of the troops to deal with endemic diseases, many of which were mosquito-borne-- dengue fever, sandfly fever [Pappataci fever] and so he would go in ahead of the troops and try to figure out what was the best way to protect the troops. And in one area, I can't remember if it was sandfly or dengue, discovered that the mosquitos really liked cattle over humans. And so, they would bed soldiers down with the cattle.
TORGHELE: Oh, that's interesting.
SABIN: And let the mosquitos bite the cows. But he did that in the South Pacificand he did it in Egypt and I think those were his two primary areas of service in World War II. And then he came back, went back into the lab and then I think he also went into Korea, but that, I'm not--I'm a little fuzzy on that one.
TORGHELE: So, he was gone a lot?
SABIN: He was gone a lot because, I mean if I was born in 1950, in May, and I'vegot pictures of me in the winter of you know, like maybe eight-nine months old and he's in uniform. That would have had to been Korea or some sort of service somewhere in the Medical Corps because he went in as a Major, came out as a Lieutenant Colonel. And you know that's what got him buried at Arlington, next to--or across the road from Walter Reed.
TORGHELE: Quite an honor.
TORGHELE: So as a child, you grew up in Cincinnati.
TORGHELE: And you lived in a neighborhood--
SABIN: We lived in a neighborhood called Clifton, which was a mix of old housesand new houses. Ours was probably the biggest in the neighborhood-- it was on a hill. It was a pre-Civil War, vintage colonial type mansion with a 400-foot driveway that circled around the house. It was a huge house with big stone steps in the front with columns and 12-15-foot ceilings, 2 full living floors, a full basement, a full attic. Rumor had it that it was part of the Underground Railroad. It was coal-fired and the truck would come every winter and put the chute down through the window into the basement and there would be this big, stinky pile of coal in what we called the furnace room. And my mother, literally, shoveled coal all winter long to fire that furnace and she shoveled the driveway by hand.
TORGHELE: The 400 feet of driveway?
SABIN: 400 feet of driveway, but it was a great sledding hill. There wascarriage house behind our house that another family (Fischer) with three daughters lived in. Amy and the youngest daughter in that family, Suzanne, were born one day apart, so they grew up totally intertwined. The next child was two and a half years older than I, her name was Peggy and then there was Kathy, who was six years older than I was. So, we had this sort of fluid back and forth thing because our driveway--well, they had a separate driveway, their driveway was even longer because it came straight up the hill and then went straight down the hill, parallel to ours. I don't know how they got in and out during the winter. I honestly don't. I mean everybody that lived -- on that part of the street where we did was on a hill. They had to drive up some sort of hill in the winter to get to their homes. But there was this constant back and forth stuff between our house and the Fischer's house, so it was like you know, one giant gaggle of girls, no boys.
TORGHELE: That must have been fun.
SABIN: It was interchangeable and then the atmospheres in both houses were verydifferent. And because the other mom worked, if there were, you know, if somebody was sick, they'd come and stay at our house and I would pretend to be sick so I could stay home. You know I'd take the thermometer, stick it on the light bulb, and tell my mother I was sick-- I needed to stay home because Peggy was there. Whatever Peggy had, I had. But she always knew I was only really sick if I wanted to do housework-- that was the clue that I was--there was something really wrong with me. The rest of the time I'd just lie around and play with Peggy. But if I offered to do housework then I probably was really sick and why I wanted to do it when I was sick, I don't know. I think she always knew when I was faking it.
TORGHELE: It sounds like she made it fun for you to stay home.
SABIN: Yeah, yeah, you know we'd get to eat buttered noodles with bread crumbsand play --I don't know if you remember the big Crayola sets that had like 128 crayons in them, crayons and coloring books, yeah. Yeah, it was fun to stay home, much better than school. I didn't like school.
TORGHELE: What was your relationship like with your sister?
SABIN: For the most part, I think when we were young it was pretty antagonistic.We did not get along very well, despite the fact that we were close in age. She was much closer to Suzie because they were born a day a part and they grew up together. So, they were always together. As I got older and Peggy entered her tween, pre-teen, teen years, I got kind of left in the middle. So, Amy had Suzie and her gaggle of friends and then I had my friends from Girl Scouts and stuff. Amy and I, I don't think we did too much. I don't remember us doing a whole lot together. I mean, we took ballet lessons together, did the Swan Lake snowball tutu thing, but she was always a much better dancer than I was. I was not athletically gifted, and so, you know, she was en pointe long before I was. It was-- we basically didn't like each other, I don't think. I mean, she may tell you something different, but it took us a long time to become friends, well into our adulthood. I mean kids--having kids helped, but then there was a period of estrangement after our father died. And then we sort of decided that you know what, this is all we've got left. We need to make it work. So, now it's a really good relationship and without her support, emotionally and financially, I wouldn't be where I am today because of my health issues. I'm very fortunate and blessed to have her as my little sister and for her to have had a job that affords her a comfortable financial situation that allows her to help me out. So, I'm very lucky.
TORGHELE: Did you share a room when you were kids?
SABIN: We did in the first house, in the big mansion house, even though therewere bedrooms galore. They were often used as the "Sabin Hilton" when the Russian scientists and other people would come to visit. And so, we had a bedroom that sat--there was a screened-in porch on one end of the backside of the house and then the kitchen and then there was a walkway that went around -- so our bedroom kind of sat above that and looked at the garage and the garden that my mother had in the back. So, there were two twin beds in there and a big closet and we were convinced the house was haunted and there were bats in the attic.
I remember one night there was a dinner party going on downstairs and you know,we were of course shunted upstairs to bed and somehow a bat got in our bedroom. You know, we're both screaming and yelling and running downstairs, "There's a bat, there's a bat!" and all these people at the table had never seen a bat and my mother's usual procedure was to catch the bat and let it out.
So, up came the colander and the piece of cardboard and somehow, she trapped thebat and then it made the rounds to the dining room table and then it got let out. But yeah, we had frequent bats in the attic.
The house was interesting. The attic was kind of spooky and the basement washuge-- there was a darkroom because my mother had been a photographer before we were born. There was a big area that was paneled and at some point somebody had probably used it as a pool room, bar kind of thing that was--then the furnace room came off of that, but there was a sliding panel in the wall that had a safe behind it. And then in the furnace room there was a secret hidden chamber up above kind of the wall that was built to kind of keep the foundation out of the coal pile, but it was rumored that the house, because it sat so close to the river, the Ohio River and the Mason-Dixon Line, was part of the Underground Railroad. I don't think that that ever got substantiated once they built the Underground Railroad Museum in Cincinnati, but that was the rumor we heard when we were growing up. But it was, you know, a huge house that could hold a large number of people at any given time. A lot of times there were either my mother's relatives or the "Sabin Hilton" was running to support my father. My mother cooked for a lot of people and there were always people coming and going.
TORGHELE: How was that for you as a child?
SABIN: It was weird. I mean, you know, my friends didn't have that kind ofenvironment and at one point, after [Dr. Robert N.] Bob Chanock had been my father's first fellow or whatever they called them back then, his mother-in-law, Katie Osgood, was a retired teacher, who was his wife [Catherine Elizabeth Osgood] Beth's mother, she came and lived with us for a while. I don't know really what prompted that, but she was one of these independent, wiry, fierce, Scottish, little women, but boy you didn't want to cross her. She and her friends would take these tramp steamers and go to Asia and Europe and she had all kinds of stories to tell. It was interesting having her there. My mother would cook and name dishes for her. And then we would have all these Russian scientists who would come and go and we'd learn how to say their names because my mother would teach us how to say them by singing them.
TORGHELE: What a good idea.
SABIN: She had a bass voice so whenever she answered the phone people would callher "sir." But it was, you know, that was how we learned complicated Russian names.
TORGHELE: Do you remember some of them?
SABIN: Oh, one was Dr. [Milan] Milovanovic-- that's the only one I remember.[Dr. Mikhail] Chumakov was easy. But yeah, we would learn to sing these names and I don't remember who else came and went, but those are the two that I remember. But there was, you know, there were nights when there four or five people there that were doing some sort of work in the lab when he was doing the Russian--preparing for the Russian (vaccine) trials.
TORGHELE: Do you remember your father speaking to them in Russian?
SABIN: He was fluent. He was a polyglot. Fluent. He grew up speaking Yiddish,Russian and German. And according to the Saul Benison transcripts, had a private tutor that was teaching him English before they came to this country, but certainly not to the point of fluency. But he had also picked up some French and I think by the time he died he was fluent in French, conversationally fluent in Portuguese and certainly fluent enough to know that when he was speaking English and was being translated if somebody screwed up. Had a better grasp on Italian than Spanish-- his French was flawless, and during his three years in Israel spoke passable Hebrew. But yeah, he had a real ear for languages, even as a young man, as a child. And so, when he started going back to Russia, he picked up the alphabet, picked up the vocabulary again and his Russian accent came back. But depending on who was occupying that part of Prussia, at the time, whether it was the Russians or the Germans, sometimes they were speaking German, sometimes they were speaking Russian. But they never spoke Polish, Polish was not one of his languages.
TORGHELE: And this was when he was a child?
SABIN: As a child, prior to coming here at 13. He was already multilingual.
TORGHELE: What else do you know about his childhood?
SABIN: His family grew up in a small town outside of Bialystok called Zabludowor some version, variation thereof, I've seen it spelled a bunch of different ways, but that's more or less the pronunciation. I think it was about 20 miles out of Bialystok. And his parents were weavers-- and in fact, they were in the textile business. And most of his family, extended family, left prior to World War I. But his, I believe it was his maternal grandfather was too ill to travel and so they made the decision to stay and then got stuck with the war and the pogroms. And his birth is not recorded-- there was always confusion around when he was born. I had the fortune to be contacted by a Polish sociologist [Radoslaw "Roddick" Poczykowski] who was doing a history of famous Jews from the Bialystok area, found me on Facebook, and he actually found birth records in Russian for my father's oldest brother, David, another brother named Judel, who was born in 1905 and died from what I understand was hydrocephalus, but not--it was sometime in his infancy because he was circumcised. The record was that he was actually circumcised. And then there's a gap until--that was 1905 and then there's a gap until 1909 when his sister Rivka who became Beatrice, was born. There was a pogrom there according to Roddick in 2007 and so my father's birth probably was not recorded for that reason. And when they came to the States and he eventually got his citizenship and apparently needed to be 21 in order to practice medicine in the state of New York and so they just randomly chose 1906 as his birth year. But it was probably 1907 based on the fact that his sister was born in 1909 and then there was a long gap and then another sister [Feiya (Florence)] arrived, she was three when they came to this country. There's no record of her birth so she was either born in 1917 or 1918 because they arrived here in February of 1921. So, it was, I think, very difficult going back and forth. He always said he preferred German occupation because they got food and schooling and the Russians, they got pogroms and stoning and things like that. He told Saul Benison that he had congenital amblyopia, was blind in his right eye and severely diminished vision in his left. And he and his older brother were stoned when he was like nine or ten and the rock hit him just outside the angle of the eye. But for as long as I could remember he wore trifocals and that was the eye he used to look through the microscope. But the other story that we were told, which differs from the Benison transcripts is that when they arrived on Ellis Island, he had active trachoma, a chlamydial infection and that was probably the reason for his amblyopia because he couldn't see to process what was coming in, so the nerves didn't work.
But they weren't going to let him off the island until an uncle with connectionsin Tammany Hall got them off--got him off. But then according to the Benison transcripts, it was like a royal welcome. So, I don't know. The stories are very confusing. His memory was selective or changed to meet the audience. No matter how many times we asked about, you know, getting out and coming here we were never told anything and the only time I heard anything was when he was in the hospital with the paralysis in 1983.
He watched The Immigrants one night before I came to visit the next day and outspewed this story, which I took notes on and then lost. But my recollection of it is different than what he told Benison. But they had made arrangements to go from Bialystok to Warsaw to Gdansk and were supposed to get on this boat, ship in Gdansk and whatever was supposed to happen didn't happen. And so according to the Benison transcript, they were put on a train and transported across Germany to Holland. but somewhere along the line and this a part that I don't remember because I think it would have stood out, they were put in an internment camp with barbed wire, for some period of time. But it doesn't seem to fit the timeline from what he told me, so I don't know which is true. But, according to the transcript, he can't remember whether they sailed from Rotterdam or Antwerp. But it was--it was interesting because one version was they were in steerage and below decks the whole time, the other was not quite that bad, but it was a very rough North Atlantic crossing in the winter. And I've done it in the summer and I can only imagine how bad it must have been in the winter on that kind of ship, crammed with immigrants who were just sardined in there. They did eat, they had food, but you know, the sanitation facilities were virtually nil and you know then they get to Ellis Island and had to do all the processing.
The Ellis Island records actually do exist, Roddick, the Polish sociologistfound them. I thought the name was Saperstein-- S-a-p-e-r-s-t-e-i-n, but it's actually a weird version that was spelled, S-a-p-i-e-r-s-t-z-e-h-n or something like that. And so, Ellis Island made it Saperstein and when exactly it became Sabin, I'm not sure. I found a paper in his desk after he died that looked like it might have been his naturalization papers and at that point, Abram became Albert Bruce with the last name Sabin. All the relatives had the name Sabin so I don't know how Saperstein became Sabin. I had been told originally that Ellis Island shortened it, but that apparently was not the case because they took a few of the letters out from the original Russian spelling and made it Saperstein. So, I don't know where Sabin came from. And it's interesting, there's a Sabin neighborhood here in Portland and as far as I know, none of my relatives immigrated here\, you know, I don't think anybody did the Oregon Trail, but they like to claim ownership and periodically I'll be accosted by one of them who claims that they're a relative. But there's actually a Sabin Elementary School here.
SABIN: But I--as far as I know--that they all stayed in the Northeast. And thenthere was the black sheep branch that went to Atlanta. So yeah, most of--but I didn't meet most of them until after he died. It was, you know, I was much closer to my mother's family.
TORGHELE: What do you know about his parents, for instance, what they were like?
SABIN: I think my grandfather must have died before I was born because I don'thave any pictures of him with me. My grandmother, my paternal grandmother was this, sort of what you'd picture as a stocky Russian woman, no-nonsense kind of thing-- I mean she had white, white hair. And I don't know how old she was because he was 44 when I was born, almost 44, a few months shy. So, she would've been in her 60s but you know, back in the '50s, women in their 60s looked really, to us, looked really, really old. I don't really have any memories of her as a person. From what I understand she was quite stern and strong. And his father was more benign, you could see it in the one picture I have that was taken, I think it was his Bar Mitzvah picture that was taken shortly before they left Europe because he turned 13 in August of 1920.
So, my grandfather looks small and meek and my father, in the Benisontranscript, described him as kindly. But I think she was the strong one and ran the show. His older brother and two sisters also came here. He was very close to Beatrice, the sister, who was two years older than he. And she lived in Miami Beach and was in the restaurant business and she was gorgeous. And she was one of the Jewish women who had the nose job-- her daughter, is now the spitting image, same nose job, looks very much like her mother now. But Aunt Bea would visit us frequently and when I was in college in North Carolina, I would head south to Miami during Spring Break so I got to spend a lot of time with her. And Aunt Florence, I don't think I met until my mother's funeral and I never met Uncle David, but he had had a stroke--well let's see, my father started doing the interviews with Benison in '73, I think, and according to the interview, David had had a stroke 10 or 12 years earlier. And I know my grandmother died of a stroke. So, it seems to run in the family. But David was pretty incapacitated-- I don't know what he did prior to that. I don't know what Florence or her husband did, never met their kids. I did meet David's children at the funeral. And then my Aunt Bea's daughter, Roz, and her daughter Tami, we recently--I had met her once like when she was maybe nine years old or something and she and her wife live in Phoenix. And a couple of years ago she found us, Amy and me, on Facebook so we've--that's the one Sabin cousin link that we have now. And not a lot--I mean, he just really didn't seem to like his family, except for Saul Krugman. Saul and Sylvia Krugman were always part of our lives and Sylvia Sidney, his cousin, who was adopted by--I don't know who her biological father was, but her stepfather adopted her, and she was a very famous actress in the '20s, '30s and '40s. And then she was also the crazy underworld caretaker in Beetlejuice. She played the character Juno, and she was a chain smoker, so they had to give her a big slit across her neck and they had smoke coming out of it so she could constantly smoke while they were filming. And she was the crazy grandma in Mars Attacks. So, she did a lot of character roles, but she was the--she also played the grandmother in--I can't remember the name of the movie (An Early Frost) that had Aiden Quinn in it, it was the first movie about AIDS/HIV and she played the grandmother in that. And she died, I think in the--it was after my father so it was in the '90s sometime. I think she had throat or esophageal cancer, one or the other, from smoking. But they were very close and so she was always a part of our life. And she spent a month with us after mom died and she was--she raised championship pugs and she brought the dogs, much to my father's chagrin, two of them.
And she also was an amazing needlepoint artist. She designed her own canvases,so she taught me how to needlepoint. But I mean she did these amazing, amazing pieces, a lot of animals, tigers and stuff like that. But she was one of the few women--my mother, Sylvia, wasn't as forceful in standing up to my father-- Sylvia Krugman and Sylvia Sidney took no flak from him. They would get--and they were little women, I mean my mother was 5'7", Sylvia and Sylvia maybe a hair over 5 feet tall and they would get right up in his grill and just let him have it when they thought he was being objectionable. So, you know, they were very strong women in terms of standing up to his authoritarian kind of figure. But Sylvia Krugman, in particular, would just take no crap from him at all. And Sylvia Sidney, after mom died, finally just said you know, "Debbe is 16, you can't expect her to run this house and go to school! Get a housekeeper." So, for that, I'm eternally grateful. So, but yeah, there's something about Sylvias that runs in the family.
TORGHELE: So, there was Sylvia Krugman, Sylvia Sidney--
SABIN: And my mother, Sylvia Tregillus.
TORGHELE: Sylvia Tregillus Sabin.
SABIN: Sabin, yeah, her family didn't give the kids any middle names because Ithink her father assumed that the girls would get married and their last name, their surname would become their middle name, so they didn't need another name.
TORGHELE: And Sylvia Sidney's father is the one who funded your father to go todental school--
SABIN: I'm not--you know, is was Uncle Sidney, you know, I get confused on thatrelationship because there were name changes because her mother was also a great Aunt Bea so there was great Aunt Bea and then there was my Aunt Bea, my father's sister. But I think originally one of them was a Rebecca and I don't--it was very confusing. When I read Sylvia Sidney's biography, I'm a little confused still as to how all of that worked out, but I know that she was adopted by her stepfather, whose last name was Sidney and that's how she got her stage name. I don't know what her birth name was, I don't remember. That part of--where great Aunt Bea comes in, I'm still very confused.
TORGHELE: With all those Sylvias too.
SABIN: Yeah. And on my mother side, the long running name is Aurelia, four generations.
TORGHELE: So, who was the Aurelia that you knew?
SABIN: My grandmother was Aurelia, my mother's younger sister was Aurelia and mycousin is Aurelia. And there were Aurelias prior to that. Amy named her youngest daughter Catherine Sylvia, but the Aurelia name did not carry on when my other cousin--I have two cousins from my mother's sister, one did not have children, the other one had four. But none of them got those names because the nickname was Rilla or Rill and so it was kind of a--well, you know, I always knew my grandmother was Bama, but professionally, she was Aurelia, but a lot of people called her Rilla. So, names got weird in our family. My mother's nickname was Dodo, supposedly because her little brother couldn't say Sylvia. I don't quite know how that came about. So, people got strange names in our family. But you know, Amy and I were Amy and Debbe, that was pretty simple. But then we had Tregillus as a middle name and that was always very hard to spell.
TORGHELE: Yeah. And where did they come from originally?
SABIN: My mother's family came from England-- Irish, English, German, Scottish,French. My grandfather's mother was French. He was the black sheep of the family and immigrated to Calgary, Canada with some of his other relatives. And somebody, I don't know if it was cousin, uncle, a brother found like the biggest gold nugget ever discovered in the Calgary area. But you go to Calgary now and there are Tregilluses everywhere. And then my grandfather moved to the Chicago area, he was a civil engineer and also a singer. And held elevator patents and worked with Frank Lloyd Wright and did all this stuff and somewhere in some musical format met my grandmother who was coloratura soprano.
And they met and married and again, there's confusion about you know, was mymother born in Evanston [Illinois] or was she born in Oswego [Illinois] or was she born here, there or wherever, but the family stayed in that near Chicago area for many, many years. And my aunt eventually settled in Park Ridge and so we would ride the train up to Park Ridge to visit them or they would come down to us. And then her brother Bill was in Oswego and had five kids and he was kind of a tyrant. I don't have real good memories of him, but he had three daughters and two sons. But when my grandparents had been married 50 years, we had a huge 50th Anniversary celebration at our house so everybody was there. And there's a picture of all of us lined up on the front porch on the steps. You've got five plus two plus two plus two cousins, I think well -- I don't remember now if my mom and Aunt Ril and Uncle Bill were in the picture or not. I don't think they are-- I think it's just the grandparents and the cousins. And I have one dish left from the set of dishes that they were given as a 50th wedding anniversary present. Somewhere along the line I have the letter that my grandmother wrote thanking everybody for this gift. It was, you know, a white and yellow dish with a gold rim and I've got one plate left. Amy got a few. When my mother died, it seems like all of the Tregillus memorabilia got disposed of. Amy was, I don't know how it happened, but Amy sort of kind of supervised the clearing out of the house when my father remarried, but she absolutely insisted that--or maybe it was they went to--when he moved to Israel and the stuff had just been moved to the new wife's house. But somehow Amy was the one who said no, we're going to save this and we'll save this and we're going to save this and it went into storage with the family that she eventually ended up living with because when he moved to Israel, she was told there was room in the apartment for her and it was actually a hide-a-bed in his study. So, she didn't much care for that and went to live with her--I had dated a guy in seventh grade and then they had dated. She kind of picked up all my old boyfriends and she actually went to live with his parents for the last part of her senior year in high school, even though she was dating somebody else and Chuck was off--well, he and I were both off in college. He was at Northwestern. So, she went and lived with his parents, but the stuff that she was able to salvage that was my mother's went into Chuck's dad's warehouse-- he was a furniture dealer. So, you know, some of that stuff came back out later and got passed on. Like she saved the extensive doll collection that we had, which I, silly me, sold at some point. But it was just--I moved six times in six years starting in 2001 and I just had to stop carrying all this stuff around. But we had a big doll collection from my father's travels. And we had a Lincoln settee that was my mother's and this opium bench that one of her relatives had brought back from China that I finally confiscated after my father died and had shipped out here. But there were, you know, Amy got the settee and then there were these dishes, the few pieces of these dishes that were left. And there were some crystal and at one point we sort of scavenged Heloisa's, my stepmother's, apartment and said, you know, we're taking this, this and this, whether you like it or not. But Amy kind of salvaged some of that stuff. But it was, it was weird, just having all of this--all of what we knew sort of broken up after her death.
TORGHELE: And did I hear you saying that your father brought you dolls from his travels?
SABIN: Oh yeah, brought dolls from every--you know, he was, I would say from thetime I was born until the time I was ten he was probably gone 70% of the time. So, it was expected that when he returned, he returned with gifts. Some of them were truly atrocious, like Dirndl dresses and Lederhosen and German backpacks and things that we were expected to use. Like dolls, you know, some stuff was just plain weird, but you know, he was expected to bring gifts back. It was, it was just an odd growing up. I mean other kids had both parents there and he was always gone. We kind of liked it because you know, when he was gone, we could eat TV dinners and cereal for dinner and sit in my mother's bed-- she had a king-size bed and we'd sit in there and read and eat cereal. And you know, got to go to Frisch's Big Boy restaurant and Arby's and all these things that we couldn't do when he was home. When he was home, it wasn't very nice. So, you know, we kind of enjoyed those early years when he was gone. It was much more pleasant.
TORGHELE: He was gone to distant places.
SABIN: Pardon me?
TORGHELE: He was gone to very distant places.
SABIN: Oh yeah. I mean, a lot of it was to Russia because that was where theywere going to do the big (vaccine) trials. And I really was too young to understand what was going on. And it wasn't until after we moved when I was ten that I realized that he was doing the trials in Chillicothe [Ohio], at the prison. And I think somewhere in there, there was the trip to Cuba--no when was the trip? Unfortunately, I had all this--this diary that my mother had written about a trip to Cuba she made with him, which I think might have happened before I was born. There was this big box of papers that my aunt had given me, and I gave it to my sister because I couldn't bring it home and she lived in the same town and Amy doesn't know what she did with it. But I remember reading this accounting of my mother's travel to Cuba, but I'm sure, you know--she didn't travel with him very much after we were born, but he must have gone to Cuba in the '60s because they were the first place to eradicate Cuba in the--or polio in the Western Hemisphere because the Russian Communist Party could come in and say, you know Fidel [Castro] said, "You will line up and do this!" and they all lined up and did it. Bingo, it's an island, all the polio was gone. I don't remember what year, but that was the first place for total eradication. So, you know he travelled a lot. He brought home, he had this briefcase that I eventually got that had Fidel's Castro's card inside. And my former husband really coveted it and so when we divorced, I let him have it-- it wasn't all that important to me, but it was, you know, it was supposed to come back to me in the event that anything happened to him. And unfortunately, he died prematurely, and my stepson didn't really care for me and it never came back to me. But there was this funky little leather purse that had been a gift for my mother, and it was made out of a caiman and it actually had the caiman's head on it. There were all kinds of weird things. You know, weird gifts that he had been given. I mean, you know, he got a Rolex watch, he got an Alfa Romeo, those were kind of cool, but then there were really weird things that you know--but we would get big food packages from Italy with panettone and amaretti cookies and all this stuff at Christmastime. Gifts from all over the world would come in and so it was--you know, there were pros and cons to being his daughter. I mean, you know, I got exposed to a lot of things that a lot of kids wouldn't. You know we got to sit in box seats at the symphony-- I was his date for the symphony. The assistant conductor lived down the street from us and gave us tickets, so I got to meet Roberta Peters, Glenn Gould, Isaac Stern, I mean all these people who were performing in the '60s that were notable artists. I got to go to the symphony and meet these people. That was an upside. There were plenty of downsides, but you know, I got exposed to that sort of culture that a lot of people didn't have the opportunity to get. That made me different than a lot of my classmates.
TORGHELE: You know, going back a little bit to--I'm thinking about your parentswhen they first got together and what it must have been like because he was Jewish, she was Christian Scientist and he was a doctor, marrying into a Christian Science family.
TORGHELE: So, what was it like for them? How was their relationship with theirin-laws on each side?
SABIN: Grandma Sabin was not particularly fond of the Shiksa. And I don't knowthat my maternal grandparents were objecting because here was their elder daughter at the age of nearly 24, not married. Then she snags a doctor after being engaged to, now I've seen to accounts of this as well, I was told it was some hardware store guy. And then I came across a paper the other day that was in my sister's handwriting that she was engaged to some car salesman. So, I always go with the hardware guy, but she was working as a nanny for a composer/conductor that lived in Chicago and my father was friends with him through Sylvia Sidney and came to visit and that's where they met. One version of the story is they met in August and got married in September of that same year, but then there were letters between him and [Manoah] Leide-Tedesco, who was the composer/conductor in 1934 when he was with the Lister Institute in England. And he is talking about a Sylvia and at first I thought it was Sylvia Sidney, but the more letters that I got access to it became clear to me it was not Sylvia Sidney, it was my mother. So, it would appear that they met in the year prior to their getting married. So, you know, again, one of those he said, she said stories. But, I think it was very difficult for my mother. They were living in New York, he was gone back--he had come back from England and gone back to the Rockefeller Institute so they lived in New York. His parents were in Jersey and I don't think Grandma Sabin was real welcoming and my mother liked to cook so she asked her to teach her how to make the old world foods to keep my father happy because he was skinny as a rail then. And so, my mother learned how to make all of this Eastern European Jewish food, I mean, my father packed on the weight. I go back and look at these recipes now and I think oh my God, we actually ate that stuff. But that was how she bonded with her mother-in-law. And my maternal grandparents would come to visit occasionally from Florida. And we more often than not--it was just my mother and my sister and I, would fly down there and visit them. I later learned that he, at least when I was a teenager, he had been supporting them by sending money each month to help them out in their old age. I mean they were--well, my mother was--when I was 16 she would have been 55, she was 55 when she died and they would've been in their 70s. My grandmother died three weeks later. But I later learned that he had been sending money to them and I don't know if that stopped with her death. But they seemed to get along okay-- I never saw, I don't remember seeing any outright hostility between them.
And like I said, I don't remember my paternal grandmother and what herrelationship was like with my mother when she would come to visit. But I think it had been rather contentious at the beginning. But religion wasn't a big--I mean we were brought up with no religion. We went to Unitarian church with the three kids behind us and I loved it. And when they moved away my mother said no, I'm not going to take you to the Unitarian church, too far away, I don't want to do it. So, I spent that year going around to the Christian churches in the neighborhood that I could walk to. Then I started seventh grade, that was sixth grade and then seventh grade I started in All-City College Prep High School. It was one-third Jewish, one-third Protestant/Catholic and one-third black. It was a very interesting cross section. I decided at that point I wanted to explore my Jewish roots-- she would take me to Saturday School. So, I don't know, it was weird. So, we really grew up with no religion and we celebrated Christmas. We always got fancy clothes for Easter, you know, the patent leather shoes and the dresses and the hats and whatever. But, there wasn't a lot of emphasis on religious tradition. I mean my father was a Zionist, but not a practicing Jew. So there really wasn't any focus, I mean, I don't ever remember being exposed to Christian Science stuff, which I think would probably be offending him. My aunt was still a practicing Christian Scientist, although she did use doctors and I forget what other church she belonged to, but she would still read the Christian Science Monitor and the Christian Science literature. But yeah, it was kind of a weird upbringing. He was okay the fact that I wanted to explore my Jewish heritage, but really didn't push it. We never really celebrated Hanukah or never did, any Seder or Passover thing I did was with my Jewish friends from school. We never hosted one. My sister actually, I don't know, in Judaism the religious lineage passes through the mother so you're a Jew if your mother is a Jew, not if your father is a Jew-- my sister actually converted when she got married. So she's truly much more of a Jew than I am. But she's the one that did the Seders and raised her kids as Jews. Her son is semi-practicing-- I don't think her daughter really cares one way or the other. And my son, he went to--we took him to the Unitarian church, but he dropped out and was part of the youth--sort of part of the youth group, but not really and so he really--he couldn't care one way or another. He's what I would describe as more spiritual than a religious person. But yeah, religion wasn't a big thing considering there was this discrepancy that they each brought to the marriage.
TORGHELE: So, would you say that he got along okay with his in-laws?
SABIN: Yeah, I think so. Yeah. I think they were happy to have a doctor for ason-in-law and they treated him accordingly. And you know, his notoriety was something that they could play off of. And I mean, they had their own notoriety in their community because of their musical backgrounds and the fact that they continued to perform, write and perform operettas after dragging my mother and her siblings through the Chautauqua circuit when they were in their elementary school years. I don't know, when they weren't in school, but they were being dragged around the Chautauqua circuit. But you know, it was something for them to say, you know, our son-in-law is Dr. Albert Sabin. And you know, something for my mother to say. I mean she was clearly unhappy with him, but she wanted to be Mrs. Albert Sabin for some reason. But yeah, there was never, I don't ever recall anything about any problems with us going to Florida to see them or them coming to be at our house or Tregillus relatives coming and being there. I mean sometimes he wasn't even home when we would do these things. It got planned and if he was there, he was there, if he wasn't, he wasn't. It wasn't like my mother to let that stand in the way.
TORGHELE: You said that he was a Zionist?
SABIN: Yes. Yes, very much so. And then he lived in Israel for three years whenhe was President of the Weizmann Institute [of Science]. You know, pro-Israeli, anti-Palestinian. I don't know what he would have thought of the current conflict. But it was weird, living in Israel in 1970, three years after the Six-Day War and a bomb shelter in the front yard. There were planned brownouts, everybody on the street, or not everybody, but half the people on the street are in uniform carrying Uzis.
TORGHELE: This was in Israel?
SABIN: Yeah, it was weird. I mean it was just--it was a whole differentexperience, but because we lived in this compound that was the Weizmann Institute, there was security, we had this big fancy house, we had help, we had a swimming pool, you know, it was not your typical Israeli experience. He did have some distant relatives who were Holocaust survivors and took me to visit them once and they had numbers tattooed on their arms. But, I don't think he saw them very often. But Israel was an interesting interlude. I had planned to live there-- I dropped out of college, but after six weeks I said, "Put the trunk back on the slow boat that goes back from Haifa to the States. I'm going back to North Carolina". I just couldn't live with him. But for the periods that I went every summer, it was really culturally interesting and I really enjoyed it. And I haven't been back since 1972. You know, will I ever get back there again? I don't know. But it was certainly interesting in the time I was there. I mean it was just--everything was, I mean I think they're probably in the same way now with the shelling. I have a friend who lives in a kibbutz near the Gaza border and so there's constant shelling going back and forth. I imagine it's similar now to what it was in the early '70s where you've got active duty soldiers walking around with their machine guns everywhere.
TORGHELE: And why did he leave when he did in 1972?
SABIN: I don't know if he--I don't really know what was the reason. Maybe he--hereorganized the whole internal structure of the Weizmann at that point--when he was there. But I think he ticked off a number of Board members. You know, he was outspoken and assertive/aggressive. If he wanted to do something, he wanted it done his way and I don't know if maybe after three years the Board suggested it might be a good time to come back to the States or he got tired of being an administrator and missed the laboratory. So, he came back as a Fogarty Scholar at NIH [National Institutes of Health] for a year. And then moved to South Carolina to the Medical University faculty down there for six or seven years and then came back to D.C., went back to NIH, worked out of Fort Detrick [Maryland] and worked on the--had an office on the campus at NIH until he got too sick to be able to continue to work. And that was when too, they were bringing in computers and they didn't want to give him a secretary and he was like, no, I'm not going to do this. And poor Heloisa [Dunshee de Abranches] partly became his secretary. And then he worked a lot from home when he gave up his office at NIH and I'm not really sure when that happened. He died in '93 and I think he must have left--well let's see, they would've been in South Carolina from '73 to maybe 1980 and then came back to D.C. and he probably spent another five or six years maybe at NIH, maybe a little longer, I don't remember. But yeah, I don't know exactly what transpired to lead to the return to the U.S., whose idea it was. But he had married Heloisa in 1972 so she lived--she lived that last six months, well, most of 1972, she moved to Israel before they got married, so I think she had that last year with him in Israel and then came back to the States with him.
TORGHELE: And he had--when was it that he went to Brazil?
SABIN: They never lived in Brazil. She was Brazilian, he met her, okay, let'ssee I have to think about this now--he had his first open heart surgery--I think it was 1972, spring of '72 at the Cleveland Clinic. And he had met her the prior August when someone had, I can't remember the woman's name, she had thrown a birthday party for him and Heloisa was a guest because her family ran O Globo, which was the biggest newspaper/magazine empire. And she was a friend of this older woman whose name is escaping me right now-- I can see her face because I met her in 1981. But they were introduced and apparently it was like love at first sight. He had his open-heart surgery in spring of '72 and I got pulled from school at Duke [University] and had to go be his nurse in Cleveland [Ohio], even though my sister lived in Cleveland. And then he decided to recuperate at The Breakers in Palm Beach. And I had Spring Break coming up-- I got to spend Spring Break at The Breakers, but I got to be his nurse until she arrived. And she gets off the airplane in a full-length mink coat and it's like April in Miami or in Palm Beach. And basically, worships the ground he walks on and I'm like--oh my God, is this woman really for real? But yeah, she spoke fluent English and so communicating wasn't a problem, but I just had a hard time grasping her adoration of him. And so, I happily left her to take care of him and went back to school. And then they moved back to the States and I somehow got the job of coming up from North Carolina to D.C. on a regular basis to teach her how to be an American housewife. This woman couldn't boil water. She didn't understand grocery stores. She couldn't cook. So it was a real learning curve for her and she became OCD about all of it. So, you know, she eventually became a pretty good cook, but my father always let her know when she fell short of the mark, whether there was company, it didn't matter who was present. He would soundly criticize whatever she prepared. He was very critical of her. She took it-- I think in some ways, she wished she hadn't, but in some ways she mellowed him out a little bit, made him easier to deal with as a parent for me for a while. But her doe-eyed adoration just sometimes was more than I could handle. She and I had a better relationship than she and Amy did. But when I stopped speaking to him, I stopped speaking to her so for the last two and a half years of his life I had no contact with either one of them. And then she and I developed a relationship again, but as she got older and developed more health challenges, she would ask me to come and then she would tear me apart and I finally said no, I'm not doing this anymore. I got verbal abuse for taking care of him-- you're not even my parent, I'm not going to take it from you. I don't care. She would call Amy and apologize to Amy for the way she treated me and then she would eventually apologize to me and then turn right around and do it again. And I just finally said no, I'm not going to do this anymore. And finally--because I was her medical Power of Attorney, finally said to my stepbrother when she was not doing well and I had just had a cervical fusion, and her friends were calling me and saying you really need to come and deal with the situation. I said I can't travel, I'm wearing hard collar on my neck. I can't travel. And I emailed my brother, my stepbrother and said, you need to deal with this. So, I went out of the loop at that point. So, I really didn't have any contact with her probably for the last five years of her life maybe.
TORGHELE: And that was wife number three?
SABIN: That was wife number three. So, my mother died in 1966, my fatherremarried in May of 1967, nine months later to the woman whose ex-husband would become famous for the savings and loan scandal, Marvin Warner. And Jane had three children, a daughter a year older than I was, a daughter who was 22 and married and a son, Mark, who was nine. And there was lots of flack around the divorce with this child, a young child, and I was P.O.'d because of the rapidity of the marriage. And one of your questions had asked about pets and we had a dachshund, they'd had a dachshund when I was born, the dachshund went to "the farm" after Amy came along, but his name was Blackie. And then we got Blackie, Jr. and the dog adored my mother, hated my father. My father would come home from work and the dog would roll over on his back and pee up on him. So, after my mother died the dog was not a happy camper because my mother basically treated him like a third child. And we were having dinner one night and my father was railing about something Marvin was doing to hold up the divorce-- and he was really obese at that point so he's sitting at the dinner table like this (legs spread wide) and the dog was on the floor and he was screaming and yelling about something and the dog lunged at him and he kicked the dog. And the dog responded by latching around his Achilles tendon and then you've got the chair coming back from the table and the two of them starting to run around the house-- my father trying to disengage the dog, I'm out the side door running up the street to the doctor's house up the street while Amy is trying to deal with whatever is going on in the house. I get the doctor, come back, the dog and my father are disengaged, Amy is distraught because this is now her dog. Father goes to the hospital, has to have his Achilles tendon reattached, marriage takes place in the hospital, I mean we were like--they were like right down to the wire waiting for Marvin to sign these divorce papers. And the dog, of course, gets put into quarantine, my sister is beside herself. We later sort of heard through the grapevine, and Amy always wanted to believe it was true, that after the quarantine period the dog was supposed to be euthanized, but we heard that the vet said no and had took the dog, adopted the dog. But we don't know, that's the story we'd like to believe. But yeah, that marriage was off to a great start. And then we moved into her house so it meant leaving the neighborhood where we had grown up and lived for--I had lived for 17 years in two different houses, moving to the Jewish neighborhood, which was on the complete other side of town where I had grown up, but some of my friends did live over there. Fortunately, I was driving by that point so I could drive, you know, I carpooled people to school and didn't have to take the bus to school anymore. But it was--it was an adjustment because Jane was a Southern Jew from Alabama, Birmingham. Her family owned a clothing store and she was about as racist as they came. We had four different household helpers that switched off and did different things, but we had one that was the cook. My best friend from kindergarten through high school, one of my best friends, was black. I brought her home once and Jane so verbally abused her I never brought her back. She was not a very nice woman-- didn't really want us underfoot.
And there were lots of scenes at the dinner table. Mark her son, and I, didn'tget along. I was very volatile at that point. I spent most of that year at my boyfriend's house because his mother reminded me of my mother. So, I would drive over--you know, I'd take Amy home after school and I'd go over there and come home at bedtime. I think Tom [Thomas Shirley] came to our house for dinner one time and my father went off on some rant and I literally picked the dining room table up and slid half of what was on it off. So, yeah, it was--it was a high decibel level most of the time at our house. If they weren't fighting-- he and I were fighting. He fought with my mother. When it came time for me to go to college, neither one of them could be bothered to deal with me-- she did take me clothes shopping and I got a lot of nice clothes. But neither one of them could be bothered to take me to school. And my father actually found someone else whose daughter was going to Duke Nursing and asked her if she would take me when she took her daughter, somebody I didn't know, went to a different high school. And then we get to North Carolina and I find out he's not given her any money for my expenses. And you know, we had to stay in a hotel the night before we were able to get in the dorm and all that stuff, nothing. Yeah, talk about being embarrassed. So, it was like you know, they couldn't be bothered to deal with it and yet I was really homesick, but I didn't go home for Thanksgiving-- I didn't go home until Christmas. It was a difficult transition, I mean she--it was hard for Amy because I left her behind-- she was a sophomore in high school. And they divorced shortly after he moved to Israel in 1970. But she also made a suicide attempt, which I know made the papers, but again, disappeared from the archives and the files. But, yeah, he got himself a couple of mentally ill wives, number one and two, and did better with number three. She was much easier to get along with even though she worshipped the ground he walked on and I sometimes thought she was nuttier than a fruitcake. But she and I, at least, got along. And you know, I mean there were things that made me angry, for my 50th birthday she sent me a beautiful photo album of pictures that I didn't even know we still had. But she had cut them up and when I asked where the rest of the photos were, she said, "Oh, I threw them away." She said, "I figured this is what you want." That made me really angry, you know, for her to dispose of family photos without consulting either Amy or me. You know, it was a beautiful gesture on her part, and it took a lot of work and she had found two pictures of my mother that she framed and sent me along with this photo album of me. But for her to destroy family photos-- no, inexcusable, unforgiveable.
TORGHELE: Now around the time that you went to school at Duke, [Dr. Samuel L]Sam Katz and [Dr.] Catherine [M.] Wilfert came into your life.
TORGHELE: Can you talk a little bit about that? SABIN: I went to Duke[University] in the fall of 1968, only to discover--I really didn't want to go to college. I was still too traumatized by my mother's death in 1966. I really wanted what we now call a gap year, but I had to get out of the house. I couldn't stand living with Jane and didn't see any alternatives. And later found out that the only reason I got into Duke because I was getting rejection letters from everywhere because I didn't do well academically at this All-City College Prep High School I went to in Cincinnati because I was so traumatized by a variety of things that education was the least of my areas of concentration. I had found out later the only reason I got into Duke was my father pulled strings and I got there and I was a fish out of water. And it was very--the first year was incredibly difficult. And second year was when Vietnam (War) was heating up and things were crazy on campus and the rules for the nursing students were very restrictive and my class was very rowdy and we finally--we couldn't walk through the hospital-- our dorm was separated, there's a men's campus and a women's campus that were a mile apart because they had started as separate colleges.
The hospital sat between the nursing dorm and the men's campus, the main librarywas on the men's campus. We were not allowed to walk through the hospital wearing shorts or pants, which meant at night, we had to walk around the hospital through Duke Gardens, which was not a safe experience, in some cases. So, we got very rowdy about dress codes and things like that. And by our sophomore year we were coming down the back stairs to our Human Ecology class in our pajamas and that's when they finally called a halt to it. But, you know, we at least were able to walk through the hospital--I mean you had people off the streets sleeping in the hospital, but nobody knew we were a nursing student or not-- there was a graduate student dorm across the street from ours, we could've been graduate students for all they--but no, we had to--and we finally said, "You know, what? Would you rather have us assaulted?" So, it was difficult. School, Duke was a--I was so out of my element, even though I had come from an All-City College Prep High School. I didn't excel academically. I never took any AP [Advanced Placement] classes and I was in way over my head. And I also had a drinking problem. So, the first two years--the first year didn't go well, the second year was not off to a good start and then in December of '69, Sam Katz and I both got a letter informing us that we were now bound to each other legally because I was not yet 21 and I needed a legal guardian because my father was living in Israel. So, I think Sam took me out for Valentine's Day dinner and that was how we met--Cathy I don't think had moved yet. But over the next few years--I dropped out at the end of my sophomore year and I was going to go live in Israel for a year, that didn't work so I came back that fall and got a job. I got an apartment off campus, got a job, quit that job and then I went and waited tables-- that convinced me that I needed to go back to school because I spent all the money from the first job in retail buying new clothes. And waiting tables was not an easy job, I mean you know, 86 cents an hour plus tips. And so, I, you know, looked at other schools, but I would've had to start all over as a freshman and reapplied to Duke, but they made me come back as a sophomore because of my academic record. So, Sam and Cathy were like respite care. They were the parents that I had never had, and they were closer than Beth and Bob Chanock, who were also substitute parents and always available. I mean, it was, you know, I had a car after my sophomore--when I came back, I had to have a car to go to clinical and so, I was able to get back and forth to D.C. so I could see them. And my boyfriend at the time was the brother of one of my classmates and they lived in D.C. Her father was the number two at the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover. They were a very devout Catholic family, they were not thrilled that he was a dating a Jewish woman. But you know, Sam and Cathy and Beth and Bob were like respite care and I spent a lot of time at their house. And Sam interceded on my behalf when I really was having serious mental health challenges-- finally convinced my father that he needed to pay for psychotherapy until he decided he didn't want to pay for it. And then called me one night and said I'm not paying for this anymore, so I went out and got drunk. It was difficult getting through Duke. And I really probably couldn't have done it had I not had support from Sam and Cathy and a place to run away to when things got really tough.
And you know, they took really good care of me and I haven't seen them now since1999. Oh, let me take that back, I saw Cathy--Cathy came out to Seattle in 2008 for a--she was, at that time, the head of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and was meeting with the Gates Foundation. And so, she came to Seattle for a meeting and I was planning to drive over from Yakima [Wasington] and my son [Christopher A. Lamb] was going to drive down from Bellingham because I really wanted him to meet her, even if he couldn't meet Sam. And that morning, as I'm getting ready to go my son calls and I thought, you know, I saw the number and I thought this is weird. And there's this long pause and I said what happened to whom? Is your grandfather okay? And he said it's not Grandad, he said, "Denny's dead." Denny [Dennis C. Herberg] was my second husband. Chris's father [Phillip A. Lamb] had decided instead of calling me to call Chris and told Chris to tell me that Denny had died. So, our time in Seattle was rather strange. Chris did come down, I was happy to have time with Cathy, we shared a hotel room and it was good to be with her and good to have Chris there, but very difficult. So that was the last time I saw Cathy. I've talked to them, you know, a couple of times in the interim, but we've pretty much lost contact and I really want to reengage that before either of them becomes totally incapable of doing it or dies before I have a chance to see them again. Because you know, I did get to see--Beth Chanock died unexpectedly, I think a year after I had last seen her, and Bob was well on his way to dementia by then. And I saw him last, I think in 2006 and he was in and out on that particular visit, but he and my son bonded over music. It turns out, well, my son owns a music store, but his knowledge of classical music exceeded what I knew he knew. So, he and Bob were having grand old conversation. One of Bob's speakers wasn't working, and he had these two six-foot Bose speakers in his living room and he loved classical music and so something was wrong with the amplifier so Chris took it apart and he took it to be fixed. And he says to Bob, "Did you know you could listen to your CDs on your TV, on your DVD player?" And Bob says, "Really?" So off they go into the family room with I think a CD of the Ten Grands, the grand pianos, Bob was in heaven. He said this sounds better on the TV than it does on the speakers. So they had a jolly good time and then we had plank steamed lobster for dinner and corn and fresh tomatoes and had a good time. Oh no, that was still when Beth was still alive that we did that, that was after Chris graduated from high school. That time Stephen [Chanock] came, Bob's son, who is now at NIH and runs the genome project or something big like that. But I think Stephen came and he brought deli food and we made sandwiches and whatever, but Bob clearly was in and out of lucidity. And then things just kind of went downhill from there and finally he had to be taken out of his home and put in a memory care. But you know, Beth and Bob and Sam and Cathy were the parents I always wanted and didn't have. So, it was wonderful to have them. They provided a lot of support.
TORGHELE: You had talked about too, the scientists' sons that you had--
SABIN: Excuse me?
TORGHELE: You talked about the science sons that--
SABIN: Oh yes. We had scientific sons and biological daughters. My mother wasquite clear that she was not going to have boys because she didn't want them to have to compete with their father because she knew he was destined for greatness. Having girls turned out to be a disadvantage for us--Bob Chanock was the first scientific son, the first fellow he had in his laboratory and he came in the '50s and I was--there's a picture of me and Amy and Foster Chanock, I think this was before Stephen was born-- there might be one picture, Stephen is six years younger than I am and so there--
I think Stephen was born while they were still in Cincinnati, so I was--thatwould've been 1956. But there's a picture of us in the back of their station wagon. I know it's me and Amy and Foster and I can't remember if Stephen is in that picture or not. But, Bob was the first scientific son and Beth had been a modern dancer-- I don't remember which company she danced with. They were married at like--she was like 19 when they got married. But she was one of these wonderful free-spirited kinds of people and Bob was kind of like Dad in a lot of ways. But he had grown up in a--his parents owned the Beverly Hills Hotel so he grew up wealthy in a whole different kind of genre than my father came from. And after my father died, Bob did one of the eulogies and then at dinner that night, proceeded to tell me stories about how he'd been skewered by my father's refusal to accept failure, incompetence, stupidity. He did not suffer fools lightly. So, Bob had all these stories that I have never heard for years, until my father was dead. And then Bob was followed by, I think [Dr.] Manuel Ramos [Alvarez] from Mexico and then there were a whole string of others that came and went through high school, through most of high school, I think. I think [Dr. Joseph L.] Joe Melnick was one of them, there was someone from England and they--and I think they would stay a couple of years. I think Bob might have stayed the longest and then he went off to NIH. Melnick went back to Texas, I think. Ramos went back to Mexico City. But after my mother died in August of '66, they invited us to come to Mexico City at Christmastime and then my father also had these friends who had a home in Acapulco, who had invited us as well. So, we go tooling off to Mexico City for Christmas and my sister decides to get appendicitis and has to have her appendix out on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in Mexico City. And then we go off to Acapulco where she wants to go paragliding but you know, we're staying at--oh God, what's the--there was some famous hotel in Acapulco, it was built on a hillside and had these pink casitas and whatever and we were staying there and the Chernetski's. Jamie Chernetski had this amazing gorgeous house overlooking the ocean up on a hill. And we were there for New Year's and you know, everybody came home with tourista but you know, it was a weird thing to do to your kids, you know four months after their--three months, three and a half months after their mother dies, four months. So, it was kind of bizarre and poor Amy was, you know, had this horrible appendicitis. It was just really weird. And then there was somewhere in there, I think there was another trip to Florida, to Miami Beach, because I remember we saw Sammy Davis, Jr. And I don't remember my mother being part of that trip. So, I think in those nine months between her death and his remarriage, we did a lot of weird traveling. This is something that we hadn't talked about earlier, it just--now that I'm thinking about it, it was a weird thing to subject your kids to. And we didn't know anything about Jane [Warner]. My bedroom looked down at my father's study and of course we all had phones in our rooms and the phone rang one night and I picked it up and I heard this woman's voice on the phone, and I didn't hang it up. And I unfortunately was standing in front of my bedroom window and my father looked out the study window and could see me and I got this angry glare and I hung up the phone. And then I proceeded to say, you know, "What is this all about?" And then I was informed that he was getting married again. Though, I mean, we didn't know she existed really until he sprang the marriage on us. So, you know, that was a weird, a weird year.
I was very grateful, Amy and I, when I came home from college after my freshmanyear, I had mono [mononucleosis] -- I was sick as a dog. And of course, my father was in scientific heaven drawing my blood for everything. And I don't remember what virus he eventually came up with, but I was like really--I thought I had--I had been sick all second semester, part of it I'm sure was depression. But then I came home and got what looked like strep throat, got put on penicillin or ampicillin, got the classic rash that you get if you have mono and basically wrote off the entire summer until like August when Amy--Amy finally had her driver's license and she and I drove through the remnants of Hurricane Camille, up the Pennsylvania Turnpike, to stay with the Chanocks. That was just she and I and Foster and Stephen Chanock. And the boys, I mean, they were raised laissez-fare, I mean it was like a free for all. We had a blast. But I also remember just, even during--just before my mother died, we took a trip to see the Chanocks. It was one of the few road trips, in fact, the only road trip Amy and I ever did with our father. We drove that same route and stayed with the Chanocks and went to Rehoboth Beach and Chincoteague and Assateague. I came home, I went into junior class play rehearsals and three weeks later my mother was dead. So, the Chanocks figure a lot into my growing up, both with and without my father. I mean Beth was a refuge for me when I was in college. There were times when I'd just take off from North Carolina and drive and go stay with her. You know, Bob couldn't care less whether I was around or not, but they--she always had people there. I mean they had people living with them occasionally and Stephen had a friend, oh his father was an author, wrote Nicholas and Alexandra--what's his name? (Robert K. Massie) Anyway--
SABIN: No, God, what was his name? I can't remember. Anyway, Stephen's friendhad hemophilia, so you'd open the refrigerator and there'd be bottles of Hemofil in there because when he came to visit, you know, you could never tell when he was going to have a crisis. He actually did Beth's eulogy, which I found at one point online and it was beautiful, after Beth died. But, you know, the Chanocks and the Katzes were lifelines for me. Amy had her ex-boyfriend's parents (Horn) that she lived with and then she got married to her--to the guy that she (Charles Horn), I don't know how she met her first husband, but he was at University of Cincinnati and then went off to Cleveland to go to dental school-- she went to NYU [New York University], hated it, after three weeks moved to Cleveland to be with him (Scott Alperin), went to community college for a semester and then got into Case Western [Reserve University]. And so, she had his family to fall back on and they got married in 1972, shortly after dad and Heloisa did. And then I got married in December of '74 and six months later Amy called and in one breath said, "Scott and I are getting a divorce and I'm marrying Chuck Horn," the old boyfriend. I was like okay, the circus continues. But yeah, I mean, we each had our go-to people and we really weren't that close, you know, there wasn't a lot of contact between us in those years. She was young and married and I was trying to get through my second stint of nursing school and then I moved to Seattle and she and Chuck, after Chuck finished law school he got a clerkship in Dayton [Ohio] so they moved to Dayton. And then they moved to Palo Alto [California] because he got a job with a big law firm in San Francisco in like 1973. And we started having kids, her first was in '77 and mine was in '78 and so there was some visiting after that, but not a lot. Not a lot until after I got divorced and then we started visiting more frequently. But then we had this big fallout after dad died and so it was--it's taken us a long time to become friends and sisters again.
TORGHELE: And you both had boys, your first children.
SABIN: She had a boy in May of '77, so he (Matthew Horn) was the first grandsonand I don't remember what my father's and Heloisa's response was to that. We knew Chris was coming in September of '78. And the only reason they came, after his birth was because a radiologist friend from Cincinnati arranged for the radiologist friend in Yakima to have my father come and do some sort of medical talk. So, he got his expenses paid so he didn't have to pay. I know this sounds really catty, but he was really tight with a dollar. And if he could make somebody else pay his way for something, he would. So, you know, he came--they came, I mean Phil's parents, my husband's parents were there, Johnny on the spot, this was their first grandson, they were-- bam! they were there. And my mother-in-law just kind of took over, which was fine except they were cattle farmers and she couldn't cook a piece of beef to save her life. But they were there, and they were helpful. And then my parents roll in and my father is like all germaphobic and you know, don't touch the baby and don't shake hands and don't do this and don't do that and was just driving me insane. And shortly thereafter he set up trust funds for Chris and Matt and me and Amy, as a result of some monetary prize he had gotten. And when Katie [Kathryn Sylvia, Amy's second child] rolled along in 1980 or '81, she didn't get anything. So, you know, if it was convenient for him to--if somebody was going to pay his way for him to come, he would come. They had a science--one of the high schools in Yakima had a big science symposium every year, this was the high school I would have preferred my son go to, but we lived just outside the district and the bus didn't run that way. And when he started, he couldn't drive and my schedule didn't allow me to drive him and it was too far for him to walk to catch the bus in a timely way to go to that particular high school. But they had this big science symposium every year and I had a couple of friends on the faculty there and they wanted to get my father to come and do a talk. So, we got him there I think in like 1995 maybe, let's see--no, 1986, but again, he came to visit only because someone paid his way. But it was very unusual, I mean--and the only other time he came was when I married my second husband. And that he had to do on his own dime. So, he was very tight with the money. I think part of it was the way he was brought--was his upbringing, you know, is there going to be enough? But then, once Amy and I kind of ticked him off he donated a quarter of a million dollars to the Weizmann for solar energy research and we kind of looked at each other and went hmm, there goes our inheritance. So, yeah, he had weird issues around--I mean, like, you know, my psychiatrist fee was like $30 dollars an hour or something, he didn't want to pay it. So, yeah, money was always an issue. And it always got brought up and thrown back in my face. He paid for Amy's graduate school-- he wouldn't pay for mine because I had taken too long to get through college. So yeah, he had some--I realize this is sounding really negative right now.
He had some good points, I mean, he exposed me to wonderful music, he taught mehow to ballroom dance, which I still dearly love. And when I was working in the pain management field, I went to a conference in Las Vegas and it was freezing cold in the hotel, the Hard Rock--no, not the Hard Rock, but it was another hotel that didn't have gambling and it was freezing cold in this hotel. And the night before I had gotten to the point of chills and muscle spasms and I was sitting in this meeting room the next morning and equally cold in there, you know, going like this, (rubbing neck and shoulders) and this voice suddenly appears in my ear that says, do you mind if I touch you? And it turned out to be this incredible body worker, tall, Greek origin, Greek family history and he was a fabulous ballroom dancer. Well it turned out there were a group of them in this pain association, American Academy of Pain Management, that liked to ballroom dance. And so, they would go to meetings and find places to go ballroom dancing. I went dancing with them and because of the training, you know the instruction I had had from my father and the fact that Tasso [Spanos] was a magnificent dancer-- people thought we were a Pro/Am couple. They thought he was a pro and I was the amateur. So, it was always great fun to go do that. I mean, I needed the body work afterwards, but you know, for three or four years I went to meetings and then got to go to ballroom dancing.
TORGHELE: Continuing on. We were going to talk a little bit about the poliovaccine. And when it was announced that there was a live polio vaccine that was invented by your father what that was like for you.
SABIN: I don't think it really registered--well, Amy and I got the vaccine in1957. We were human guinea pigs through no choice of our own, as were the three girls (Kathryn, Peggy and Suzanne) behind us, various cousins and neighbors, some of whom had had--or did we get--I think it was '57, but I'm remembering--God, my memory is really bad now because I'm remembering that we did a bunch of it in the house that we moved to when I was ten, which would have been 1960 was when they first did the big trials in Cincinnati. Maybe I was older than I thought, and I need to go back and actually look at the records. Maybe I wasn't seven, maybe I was ten. Oh, this is embarrassing. But I remember, you know--no, because it had to--no, everybody was there, the three girls were there but I'm confused now. This is embarrassing. But whatever year it was, I was in grade school, that much I know. And so, we were all human guinea pigs through no choice of our own. And it involved throat swabs, blood draws and then post vaccination, which came in the form of the drops in rock candy syrup from the local candy store, very sweet, but good. And also, part of the payback for--we made him take us to this candy/ice cream store called Graeter's and we all got whatever we wanted for being poked and prodded. But everybody got lined up and got throat swabbed, got blood drawn and was handed a stool cup and a paper bag. So, post immunization because the virus is shed in the feces, which is great for herd immunity, we had to collect stool samples, very embarrassing in school. So off we'd go to school, I don't know what Amy's--I never talked to Amy about this-- I have no idea what her recollection of this is, but it was always very, you know, three doses and a booster. And you're getting the blood and throat swab and the stool cup all the time. The payback was the candy store. But it wasn't until they started doing Sabin Oral Sundays or Sabin on Sundays and we went to Scottsdale and were put up at the Camelback Inn Resort when I was 12, the spring of 1962, Maricopa County was planning this big immunization campaign.
That's when it kind of really hit home that this was a big deal. I mean, youknow, they did the trial in Cincinnati in 1960, I think it was 180,000 school kids and then he worked with--there had been an immunization campaign in Omaha and I found this in an old Rotary document when I was getting ready to do the Tournament of Roses Parade with Peter Salk in 2014, that somehow the people in Omaha had, with the assistance of the Rotary Clubs, come up with a way to get a lot of people immunized in a short period of time. And so, that's how Sabin on Sundays kind of grew out of that organizational campaign and then Rotary kind of stepped in later in 19--God, I can't remember what year they came in to start their eradication program. But they have been supporting polio eradication for an extremely long time. So Sabin on Sundays really took off in 1962 and that, I think, was when Amy and I really kind of got hit with the idea that oh, this is a big deal because we had, you know, friends who had polio, kids who were in braces and you know, it was always you can't go swimming. And we weren't allowed to have the Salk vaccine because we had to be virgin. But some of the kids that did get it had had the Salk vaccine and were so happy to not have shots again. But you know, they were a separate subgroup of research because they had Salk vaccine and now they were going to get Sabin vaccine. Because I think that's kind of when it really hit, was when we went to Phoenix and Scottsdale and this whole Maricopa County thing. And then of course, there were many more campaigns in Cincinnati and Sabin on Sundays all over the place. And so then there was a lot more notoriety and then I got--went to this All-City College Prep High School and everybody knew who I was. You know, Sabin was the name. I was the only Sabin--you know I mean I was the first one to go, Amy did follow my footsteps. But you know, that was a big deal. And it wasn't easy. I was a gawky awkward kid and you know, didn't think much of myself and everybody was like, you know, I'm cool because of who my father is. So, I never, you know, now in retrospect, I never really knew who to trust and now I'm very good friends with some of my high school classmates, but back then I hated a lot of them. And I was bullied and tormented. It wasn't a fun experience growing up Sabin once he became famous. And once my sister hit school, she was much more adjusted than I was, academically better and so if she had similar--the same teachers, it was difficult for me because there were expectations of you know, you're supposed to be smart because you're a Sabin. And while I finally realized I was smart, I didn't--you know, that wasn't what I was told back then. And so, it was difficult during those years of high school when Amy was following in my footsteps that she was the academically gifted one. I was the troublemaker. After, I think it was after my father married Jane, it was probably my senior year, they invited him to do an assembly and I said to him, the last thing I said before I walked out the door that morning was, "Do not mention my name. Do not talk about me in any way, shape or form." I'm sitting in the back of the auditorium between two girlfriends and of course he starts talking about me. And of course, they start tittering. A teacher that I had not had, didn't know who I was points at me because I'm in the middle of this raucous noise, "you, out", drags me down to the Assistant Principal's office and says, "She's causing trouble during Dr. Sabin's assembly."
And the principal says, "That's Dr. Sabin's daughter, I'll handle this." And hejust looked at me-- he said, "Go sit in the balcony. Go sit in the balcony." So yeah, it was difficult because there were expectations that I should be brilliant. I was put in a special project when I was in 9th grade, it was a Humanities project, in the afternoon we had Latin, English and Ancient and Medieval History and there were 90 of us. And they made it very clear which tercile you were in, I was in the bottom. So, academically it was very difficult to live up to that. And of course, then when I went off to Duke it was--I was in no shape to hold my own at Duke University. And it wasn't until I got to graduate school that I made Honor Society and found a study partner who, A, convinced me I knew what I was talking about and B, helped me study. Helped me learn how to study so that I made Honor Society. But you know, all that time I grew up thinking I was the stupid one. And then when I graduated and went to work in pediatrics with Sam, who was Chairman of the Pediatrics Department-- that was my first rotation in school and that was where I did all of my student nurse, you know, medical assistant kind of work while I was in school. And then I got a job on the peds [Pediatrics] ward when I graduated. And the residents all knew who I was, they knew my relationship with Sam, and they'd say to me, "Well, you're Dr. Sabin's daughter, why aren't you in medical school?" And I'd just look at them as they were doing scalp vein or a cut down on some poor baby and this kid was screaming and I'd say, "Well, somebody has to clean up the mess you guys make." And it really wasn't until I became a nurse practitioner that I recognized that I was smart, smarter than the average bird and I was darn good clinician. It didn't win me any points in conservative Yakima because unfortunately, I was a woman and I was smart and, I had my father's temper back then. I was, I don't suffer fools, I'm better than you, don't give me grief or I'll give it right back to you. I was not a very nice person to work with in those days, especially after I got my own practice and found horrendously misdiagnoses in my patients that local physicians had missed and they had no compunction about calling me up and ripping me a new one. The patients were very grateful even when they ended up getting devastating diagnoses like MS [multiple sclerosis] or the other one was pulmonary hypertension got missed. But you know, she was grateful to know why she couldn't walk from her car to her classroom. So, you know, I didn't do myself any favors in some ways by being my father's daughter. It was difficult living up to being his progeny and having expectations of well, he developed the polio vaccine, what are you going to do? And that was, that was tough. And you know, Amy and I both went into the medical field-- she's a speech and language pathologist or she was until she moved to California and they wanted her to take her boards again and she said no thank you. Ended up working for Cisco Systems, made a lot of money and retired when she was 46 or something--45, 46. But he always--he was not terribly supportive of our careers, although he did pay for Amy's graduate education and once I moved on from nursing to nurse practitioner, I was "practicing medicine without a license." So, you know, it didn't do me any favors along the way to, have that--have his personality shape mine because I became very aggressive and defensive based on how he treated me.
So, I treated the rest of the world that way because my mother had never stoodup to him. And I finally realized this realization at 39 or 40 that--no, I was older than that I think, that I was basically trying to save the rest of the world because I hadn't been able to save her. And that didn't help me sometimes in my career either because I had very unrealistic expectations of my patients and when they didn't meet them, I felt like a failure. So yeah, being a human guinea pig was not a fun experience. When I met Peter Salk and talking to another human guinea pig-- that was like bonding, it was like nobody else knows what's that like unless you've been a guinea pig. Except for maybe Maurice Hilleman's daughter with the measles, I think it was the measles vaccine, you know, she was a guinea pig and I got to talk to her when the Gates Foundation did the photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz in 2014. But there aren't many people out there who grow up as human guinea pigs whose parents are injecting them with things or giving them things orally that you have no idea what they're going to do. So, you know, it was a mixed blessing. It was a gift and a curse to be a Sabin. And like I told you before, there's a book rattling around in there maybe because nobody's written a definitive biography. And I had a friend last night text me, out of the blue, I hadn't heard from her in a long time and I told her I was doing this, and she said you should write the book. Because I told her the tentative title was Growing Up Sabin, Life Under the Microscope and she said, you know, "My major was English." She said. "I used to edit and proofread and do it, write an outline." I said I can't type anymore and she said get the new Dragon (speech recognition software), the new Dragon software is great. So I don't know. I mean somebody needs to write a biography of him, but there are too many where he's a footnote. And you know, he says--he liked to say his was THE vaccine when publicity would refer to it as a polio vaccine. But it's going to take and we'll kind of move on to talking about Salk, it's going to take both vaccines to eradicate polio. We're so far beyond Rotary's endgame for their polio eradication, which I think the initial date was 1986 and I don't know what the current date is, but given the new outbreaks that keep cropping up and the fact that Nigeria went from polio free to not polio free and the outbreaks in Israel that were traced to Pakistan. Peter actively still works on that and I can't. I can't travel because of my health issues. And I haven't had any contact with Peter in a long time, but he was very vocal when we first met in 2010 about the fact that WHO [World Health Organization] and the Gates Foundation and Rotary [International], nobody wanted to talk about the vaccine derived cases of polio. They only wanted to talk about wild cases of paralytic polio and not vaccine derived or mutant strains. And he, you know, he just stepped right into it, ticked off a lot of people. And now, people are starting to pay attention to that. And the endgame, really, is going to be you need both vaccines. And I think Nigeria is actually using both of them already. And you know, if we could get to the Af-Pak [Afghanistan Pakistan] border, that would take care of a lot of problems, but you know, we've kind of shot ourselves in the foot going after bin Laden with the hepatitis C thing or whatever that scam was. And you can't have vaccine workers being assassinated, you know, you don't get a lot of volunteers that way. So, I really haven't kept up recently or talked with Peter recently about what's happening in that whole polio endgame strategy. I'm curious to know because I don't think it--I think it was supposed to be coming like in next year and I don't think that's going to happen.
So maybe it's time to get in touch with Peter again and find out what'shappening. Because he used to be the HIV/AIDS [human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome] person, Salk had three sons, all physicians. Peter was his ally in HIV/AIDS, Darrell-- the middle son was the polio point man. He was at the University of Washington when I was there. We ran into each other once or twice and no love lost there. And it turned out he lives here in Portland. He gave up medicine, married his college sweetheart and is active in Jewish theater, haven't seen him. And he was mad at Peter when Peter took on polio. And then, I'm blanking on the third brother's name--
SABIN: Jonathan. Jonathan is the psychiatrist and the one who influenced thehumanities and being--with their father being married to Françoise and her relationship with [Pablo] Picasso, what's her last name?
SABIN: Gilot. I met her in 2014 when they had the centenary for Salk at NYU--she did come to part of that program. And so, I was able to meet her and Peter, you know, I didn't get to spend a lot of time with Peter because he wanted to spend time with her. But you know, it was wonderful that Peter and I serendipitously were connected in 2010 when I met one half of the PR firm for the Gates Foundation's health work and he went back and said to his partner, you'll never guess who I met at this patient conference and told him and he said "Well, that's interesting because I worked with Peter Salk on AIDS/HIV stuff before". And that's how the two of us got brought together. And Peter's son was actually living in Portland at the time and then the Gates Foundation invited both of us to New York the next January. They wanted us to write an op-ed piece and that's when Peter and Darrell were still having their difficulties over Peter taking up the polio role and he didn't want to jeopardize their renewed relationship. And I said, "Hey, I get it, I've been there with my sister, do what you need to do." "We don't need to do an op-ed piece-- we just need to appear together." And then we did a joint appearance for the Tournament of Roses in 2014. But that was the first time Sabin and Salk appeared on the same stage saying you know, we have to do this together-- you need both vaccines. You can't do it alone. And now, with the reformulated oral vaccine, it's going to be, hopefully, so much easier. But, you still have to get to people and with the oral vaccine you've got the issues of water insecurity, chronic diarrhea, multiple revaccinations, 12, 13, 14 times, every time there's an outbreak, until we solve the water sanitation issues in some of these developing countries. It's going to be really hard as refugees flow over borders with subclinical cases that aren't paralytic-- I assume that's how it got into Israel and Egypt. Somebody came from Pakistan Afghanistan sick--bam-- you've got polio again. God forbid, okay, I will get into the anti-vaccers, God forbid the anti-vaccers in this country get carried away enough, we've already got whooping cough and measles and other things cropping up in college aged kids-- we get polio back in this country, it's going to be catastrophic. Okay yeah, we've got ventilators, we don't need iron lungs anymore, but I can't remember what the statistics were if it got loose again, but they are horrific. I hope that doesn't happen. I hope we get it eradicated wild, vaccine derived, whatever, it's got to stop. It's got to stop.
TORGHELE: Well I think that's a very good place for us to end. And I want tothank you so much--
SABIN: Thank you.
TORGHELE: --for this conversation we've had, it's just been enthralling.
SABIN: Thank you.
TORGHELE: Thank you so much for this picture into your life and to your worldand the way it was. This is the first time we've been hearing it, so I really appreciate it.
SABIN: Thank you. Well I hope it adds to somebody's research in the future. Andyou know, I don't know if the archives at U.C. [University of Cincinnati] would be interested in getting, at least a copy of the transcript. I will check with my new contact there because there's some other things I wanted to ask him about. But now that I know that there's a contact that I have there I can get more information and find out more stuff because I've never sent them the information from Poland either. But thank you. Thank you for enduring for a year and a half, pursuing, persisting.
TORGHELE: It was well worth it.
SABIN: Well, thank you. And thank you for letting me get comfortable for acouple of days before deciding to do this. I don't think my sister is thrilled, as I haven't heard back from her, but that's the way it goes.
TORGHELE: Well, I hope she's okay with it.
SABIN: I hope she's okay with it too. I don't think she'll even want to see itor read it when it's finished, but you know, she makes her choices and I make mine. I think her big concern was that it would stir up too much stuff for me.
TORGHELE: Mm-hm. Well, you did so well, thank you.
SABIN: Well, it's going to push me to do some work I need to do. Thank you.
TORGHELE: Okay, thanks