QUEEN OF EXTRANEOUS INFORMTION

QUEEN OF EXTRANEOUS INFORMTION
Ann in KISMET, Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre, 1982

Monday, August 10, 2015

HEALTHFUL NEGLECT


In addition to all of the political correctness we are subjected to daily, during these days we are also inundated with nutritional and environmental correctness!  While the former is getting too  much, I must admit that many of the scientific finds in our foods and environment seem to be for the greater good, and I am mostly glad to be made aware of them. 

 

However, I can’t help but remember how lackadaisical most Americans were when I was a kid.  While our mothers sterilized our bottles before they gave them to us and Lysoled the floors before we started crawling, there were some areas in which they fell short. . .only due to not being made aware. 

 

One of our favorite things to do as kids was to go to the drive-in movie.  We rummaged through pockets, sofa cushions, and looked everywhere for enough change to make up 35 cents. . .Mama’s cost to get in.  We kids were free.  We usually got to the drive-in before it was dark. With our help, Mama found a good parking spot.  Then, we’d start getting ready.  We put the speaker on the window.  Then, we would step outside for Mama to spray us with her pump sprayer containing. . .DDT, to keep away the mosquitoes.  I don’t remember eating or drinking at the drive-in, but I do remember being the one to go to the refreshment center to buy a mosquito coil.  We would put it on the dashboard and light it.  The smoke was supposed to permeate the car and drive away the mosquitoes. Many times one, two, or all three kids fell asleep during the movie, so the mosquitoes obviously didn’t keep us awake, or maybe by this time we were all drugged. 

 

Another memory which is vivid is the exciting sound of the mosquito truck in our neighborhood. We’d run outside in the dark, and run behind the truck, inhaling the mosquito spray. However, all three of us got bitten regularly and at some point the bites turned to Impetigo, which Mama treated with Gentian Violet.  It turned us all purple, but like the DDT, it didn’t kill us.  Neither did the mosquito spray, but I learned as an adult that the spray not only killed the mosquitoes, it also killed our lightening bugs.  The mosquitos came back; the lightening bugs did not! 

 

I remember also sitting in the car while the service station attendant pumped gasoline into our car.  We three inhaled that smell, which to us was pleasant. I don’t ever remember being chastised for doing these things.  These were innocent acts, not unlike my high school students who took pleasure in sniffing their handouts, tests, etc. that had just been mimeographed.  Remember? 

 

Although there wasn’t much fast food in those days, and I was an adult before I had a frozen dinner, I don’t remember hearing about dangerous foods, etc.  Except, every household had a big can of Crisco shortening.  And this was not added to cooking in teaspoonful amounts. . .how about a half cup or whole cups? 

 

I’m very happy to report that neither my brothers nor I developed any brain damage with all of those poisons we were exposed to.  And my brothers’ off-springs were perfect, beautiful babies who grew to be brilliant and talented adults. Do I need to emphasize how perfect the third generation is? They all, however, DO roll their eyes at me from time to time!?? 

 

After our father died, Mama went back to college full-time when we were 9, 8, and 5.  She had to go to class; she had to study.  While we lived in a controlled (sort of) college campus situation, we were on our own a good deal.  My aunt used to tell my mother that she (Mama) practiced HEALTHFUL NEGLECT.  Mama wasn’t insulted; she was sort of proud that she could trust us while she had to take time to get an education so that she could support us! One of her most memorable warnings was telling us to be home “by dark-thirty.” I never was sure if that meant thirty minutes before dark or after dark. But we usually got home at the time Mama wanted. I guess it’s like what the Bible says, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6. 

 

During her last years, however, Mama did have some regrets as to things she did as far as we were concerned.  One thing she said was that if she could have a do-over, she would NEVER lift her hand in anger at us, and that meant switching. I think she was a grandmother when she told me that, and the thought of anyone spanking one of those darlings made her cringe. We didn’t get spanked much, but whatever we did to merit such treatment, we really deserved it!  Also, I think Mama had one other, big regret that she never voiced: using DDT, Gentian Violet on us, and letting us inhale Mosquito Coil smoke!!! 

 

 

OMG, Did you know that inhaling the smoke from one mosquito coil does the same damage to health and lungs as smoking 100 cigarettes?    http://www.hoaxorfact.com/Pure-Facts/one-mosquito-coil-equals-100-cigarettes.html 

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