Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Martha Mason (1937 - 2009)

Image description: Martha Mason with her friend, Mary Dalton, who produced a documentary about Ms. Mason's life in 2005.

Since my post last Friday about the death last week of Martha Mason at age 71, there have been numerous remembrances of her life. Here is an excerpt from a remembrance by Margalit Fox in the New York Times:

From her horizontal world — a 7-foot-long, 800-pound iron cylinder that encased all but her head — Ms. Mason lived a life that was by her own account fine and full, reading voraciously, graduating with highest honors from high school and college, entertaining and eventually writing.

She chose to remain in an iron lung, she often said, for the freedom it gave her. It let her breathe without tubes in her throat, incisions or hospital stays, as newer, smaller ventilators might require. It took no professional training to operate, letting her remain mistress of her own house, with just two aides assisting her.
Ms. Mason's memoir, “Breath,” was published by Down Home Press in 2003. As well as being the subject of Mary Dalton's documentary film, “Martha in Lattimore,” released in 2005, Ms. Mason also appeared in “The Final Inch,” a documentary about polio that was nominated for a Academy Award this year.

There are other memorials here, here, here, and here.

Rest in peace, Martha Mason.