Book Review: Sowing My Quaker Oats by Armin L. Saeger Jr., MSW

As a social worker myself, I always wonder what leads an individual to become a social worker. Armin L. Saeger, Jr. was raised during difficult times and faced the challenges of the Great Depression and World War II. As an 18 year old, he registered as a Conscientious Objector (CO) during the war for religious reasons; he was a Quaker who held beliefs and practices of non-violence. Armin entered the Civilian Public Service (CPS) and was stationed around the U.S providing service in Oregon, New York, and Tennessee; he volunteered for human guinea pig assignments as well. He was actually discharged a year after the war ended in 1946. As a member of the CPS, he was ineligible for medical insurance, benefits, pay or access to the GI Bill after the war because of his CO status.

It amazed me to read about the medical system back in the early 1930’s when Armin, as a little boy, went for surgery. His parents were not allowed to be with him before, during or after the surgery and visits were restricted. Imagine being age five and alone in hospital for a month with few family interactions, scared and lonely. Now fast-forward three years to age eight and imagine the same thing, except it was for a different surgery. It seems wrong, and I am glad the medical system has changed in this regard….

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