Sun Lakes Writers’ Group

Treatments and cures

Dorothy Long

Growing up in the ‘40s and ‘50s, it was not off to the doctor or urgent care. The medicine cabinet and kitchen cupboard held almost everything needed for treatment. Unless it was life threatening, the family relied on home remedies. These were passed down from one generation to the next.

A scraped bloody knee or elbow received mercurochrome or iodine. It did sting, but you were told that was because it was killing the germs.

A soda paste was good to treat mosquito or other bug bites. Calamine lotion was also good for any type of skin irritation.

A sore throat brought out the salt water gargle, and if really sore vinegar was added. Sometimes, there was Listerine or Lavoris in the medicine cabinet. Opening the metal Sucrets container and taking one to suck on helped relieve the soreness, as well chewing on Aspergum.

The cough or cold found one slathered with Vicks, a towel pinned around your neck and chest and were sent to bed. Covering the head with a towel tent and breathing in steam from a pan of hot water helped clear the head.

The kid with a tummy ache was given a glass of soda water. It would make one burp. If that didn’t work, out came the Milk of Magnesia or heaven forbid the dreaded castor or cod liver oil. Perhaps some prunes or prune juice were added to the diet.

If anyone had the misfortune of stepping on a nail, a poultice of bread soaked in milk was taped to the bottom of the foot. This supposedly sucked out the infection. This happened too often when kids chose the freedom of bare feet. Hopefully, tetanus shots were up to date.

Headaches were treated with aspirin or a cold washcloth over the forehead. A burn was treated with cold water or Unguentine.

Warm ear drops relieved an earache or swimmer’s ear.

In case of hiccups, one swallowed a teaspoon of sugar. If that didn’t work your brother would hide around the corner and scare you.

Alcohol, that is rubbing alcohol, was good for disinfecting.

For chapped hands, Chamberlin’s or Jergens lotion was applied. Vaseline on heels covered with white socks healed while one slept.

There were some preventive measures such as a One a Day vitamin. My mother switched to another brand that I told her tasted like chicken feed. She wondered how I knew the taste of chicken feed. I replied, “Well it tastes like chicken feed smells.”

We switched back to One a Day which was tolerable.

Brushing teeth twice a day with Ipana or tooth powder produced a winning smile.

Fresh air and sunshine were always good. A straw hat helped to keep some of the rays away. Too much sun was treated with vinegar and a soak in the tub.

In health class, we learned that we should sleep with the window open. I brought this information home and my mother said our house was drafty enough and no window was allowed to open until late spring. We also learned that Lifebuoy stopped B.O. There were charts and a free bar of soap to prove it. So, we bathed with it and sprinkled talcum powder on after towel drying.

We had no fast foods and a healthy diet was encouraged with a limited amount of soda pop. These measures seemed pretty successful as we were all relatively healthy. We knew the treatments and some we hoped to avoid.

Sometimes life just isn’t fair

Ruby Regina Witcraft

Liked to starve to death all day just so I could go have pizza with my lady friends, Frick and Frack, who know all the good eating places. One being my slim, swim buddy who looks drop dead gorgeous in a bathing suit. She and I split a pie so I figured it for 300 calories. No big binge problem there and I had really had a hankering for that tasty treat for some time.

It was a new place which allowed you to go along a bar and tell the waiter what you wanted on the thin crust topped with about a cup of marinara sauce. Thin crust, alright, just saved a few calories there. Slim and I coordinated as we moved along the many choices. Sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella, olives and tons of other stuff. We each chose what we liked and when it came to the table it turned out to be a pretty good-looking pie. After all, what could a half of this delectable, crusty, gooey beauty hurt?

Unfortunately, the feast didn’t end there as my friends, better known as F. and F., always finish a meal with desert. Surprise, we are on our way to a really neat, self-serve yogurt bar. You go along a row of at least 10 choices of this yummy stuff, in containers, on a wall. Select one or as many as you like, by pulling a handle to drop it into a pretty large cup. I’m a choc-o-holic so filled my cup way too full but still left room for caramel sauce and whipped cream. If only there would have been bananas for a split, but I certainly had enough, as is. Slim, who is really self-controlled where diet is concerned, did the same.

As I said, the two head honchos seem to know all the eating places within driving distance. The hot dog place in Tempe was a good example and frankly, a hot dog is a hot dog. Doesn’t matter how you cook it or what you put on it, it’s still a hot dog. However, once they kidnapped me and went to see Xmas lights in a cul-de-sac in Tempe which were beautiful. Surprise! No food.

Met Slim the next morning at the pool and she proudly announced that she had lost a pound. I sheepishly had to admit that I had gained three. I thought I might have to strangle her but I like her too well for that.

Now, I ask you, “Is life fair?” Woes me! Salad tomorrow!

Secrets Ears

Barbara Schwartz

The ladies in my neighborhood get together every two weeks to play game of Rummikub. Rummikub is a game played with tiles instead of cards and is very much like gin or gin rummy. You choose 14 tiles and make either runs of numbers or collections of the same number. The object is to get rid of all your tiles first. It is fun and somewhat challenging. We justify our games by saying that they are educational and challenge our brains.

This week the game was at the home of one of our newer neighbors. This was a single woman who had never owned a home before. She had lived in rental apartments or condos all of her life, therefore, never collected all the stuff that we homeowners have. Excess of dishes, books, magazines and knickknacks are not at all uncommon to those of us who have moved from the bigger “family raising” homes and have downsized, sometimes not too successfully to the smaller retirement homes here in Sun Lakes. So, since Linda had never had “stuff” we decided to throw her a surprise housewarming before our game. Someone made a list of things that she needed or wanted and emailed it out to the rest of us. As we each purchased something from the list, we emailed back that this particular item has been purchased, our own little registry as it were.

Now, I am pretty damn good at keeping secrets. Awhile back, I organized a surprise birthday party for my husband’s 70th birthday. Including a visit from our son and his family – all unbeknown to my husband. So, if a secret was to let loose, it would never be from me. No way.

Imagine my surprise when Linda (who was to be the recipient of the housewarming party) called me to ask if it would be appropriate to have a birthday cake for her good friend whose birthday was last week. “Wouldn’t it be a fun surprise?” she asked. When I heard all this, I tried not to laugh out loud and told her that EVERYONE loves a surprise and it would be fun. So, she brought the birthday cake over to me to bring over to her later for the game.

Now I had a double surprise to contend with, and a secret to withhold from all the other players. The evening started with a delightful surprise with all the housewarming gifts. Our games of Rummikub went well and when it was time for refreshments, the birthday “girl” was moved to tears when she realized it was for her birthday and not someone else.

As for me, I defy anyone to say that I cannot keep a secret; unfortunately, I keep all these things in my head. The area between my ears is filled with little tidbits of information that never seems to leave the brain. No wonder I cannot remember some things, there’s no room left for anything else.