Wednesday, March 10, 2010

We Were Tough

They grew 'em tough when we were kids. Kids are pretty much wimps these days. Bandaids? Who needed 'em? We'd spit on the wound and hold it tight until the blood stopped. If we couldn't stop the blood, Mom would say, "Go put some cold water on it." Now kids not only need a bandaid, but they have to have one with a cartoon figure on it.

Mosquito bites were treated by Dad's method: taking your fingernail and making an "X" on the bite to stop the itching, or Mom's method: spraying it with Right Guard. Toothaches were treated with a cotton ball or a rag soaked in whiskey or brandy. Athlete's feet was treated by pouring Listerine over your feet. If you had acne, you steamed your face over the teapot to open the pores, then washed your face with rubbing alcohol, and then ice cubes were put on your face to close the pores. Kids now think they have to have $500 worth of cosmetics to do the same thing!

Our dentist, Dr. Miller, would smoke big old black cigars and then put his fingers in your mouth. Gloves you say? Dentists didn't wear gloves back then! Dad loved Dr. Miller because he'd have his nurse send an index card in the mail as the bill. Dad would mail in $5.00, and in another six months or so "Nita" would send him another index card. The bill would be paid eventually -- usually just in time for another round of teeth to be pulled.

When my kids were little, Dad and Mom would come to visit when they could. While he was here, Dad would buy a small bottle of whiskey for his evening drink. He couldn't drive home with an open bottle, so he'd leave the bottle in my spice cabinet for "when the kids get a toothache." I have one of the last bottles of Dad's stock, a partial bottle of brandy. I was saving it for teething grandchildren, but my kids would think it was abuse. I guess I'll save it for some other great occasion -- they wouldn't take my temple recommend if I drank it the day Danny dies, would they? Well, maybe they would. Maybe I'll save it for when I'm dying of cancer or something. Trust me Dad -- I'll think of something -- just for you.


  1. I am sure you could find a killer recipe that calls for Brandy. A flaming dessert? It could also provide an early release from your calling. LOL!

  2. What? Cook with your grandfather's brandy? Do you want me to be struck with lightening? You know, he always wanted to be buried with an eternal ice water fountain -- maybe a little brandy flowing on the other side?

  3. Hey, i've been waiting for my portion of that brandy. joey's got teeth coming in every day!

  4. Gabrielle ValentineMarch 10, 2010 at 9:13 PM

    Kids and parents were more resilient/resourceful in the past decades. My own kids seem to have everything so easy! Spiderman bandaids. And even a Spiderman icepack. Sheesh!

  5. Hannah: Geez, Hannah, you surprise me every day. Last I heard my children all thought I was nuts. You'd better check with Dale, but you're welcome to some any time.

    Gabrielle: I'm not sure if we were more resilient, or just had tough survivor parents of the Great Depression, World War II and the Korean War.

  6. Yes, and Dr. Miller drilled our teeth without Novocain. Not even an asprin! What's more, it hurt less than the SHOT they give you now! Of course there were always distractions like when Dr. Miller and Nita used to get in an argument and were kicking each other in the hall. Oh, yes! Don't forget the "spit bowl." I'm sure it hadn't been cleaned all week. No such thing as a suction hose. You just leaned over the side of the chair and spit!

  7. Oh, Nita and Miller stepped out in the hallway to fight? They didn't bother doing that for me--they kicked each other behind the dental chair. I agree on the Novacaine--half the time I still turn it town.