I was just thinking some more on how we survived back in the thirties and forties. I recalled our family doctor when I was a child, Doctor Smith, how he made house calls, something unheard of these days, and some of the treatments, or home remedies we had.

I recall having the German measles and how I was quarantined to my bedroom. It was Easter Sunday and my two cousins from New Mexico and two from Oklahoma had come to visit. I was about six or seven years old and being quarantined was not a happy thought especially when I could look out my window and see my cousins and brother hunting Easter eggs. I also recall just how sick I was, being so weak that I could not stand alone. Easter was over and my cousins had gone home by the time I was over the measles.

I recall the time I had strepthroat and mumps at the same time. That was a lot of fun.

Do you remember Black Draught cough syrup ? Awful stuff! How about Asafetida bags? No words can describe that! Mustard plasters? Turpentine and coal oil? Then there was always that good ole Castor Oil that cured anything that ailed you. Iím sure there were many others that I donít recall.

Then there were the beauty treatments.

Remember the tin cans with the keys you used to open them with? My grandmother saved the tin strips and used them to roll my hair. Then she got a curling iron. The kind you stuck in the fire to heat. Iím surprised we had any hair. I recall my first permanent wave. I would have undergone any torture to have curls and I did. When I was about nine years old my aunt came to visit and asked what I wanted for my birthday. I said I wanted a permanent wave. So, she took me to the city where there was a beauty shop and I wasnít sure I would come out alive. After washing my hair the operator trimmed it and put something that smelled like strong ammonia on it, almost taking my breath away. Then she put my hair on rollers and then more ammonia. After all that she moved me to another chair where she connected what looked like a million wires that hung from the ceiling to each curl, then turned on the electricity. Believe me, it got quite hot. Tears were running down my face from the smell and the heat. But after all that suffering, when it was all over, I did have what I thought was very nice curls and I loved it. But it was many, many years before I went through that torture again. By then, they had developed the perms without the electric chair but they still took your breath away.

Then there was the war.

I remember the day my brother came running in to give us the news that, "The Japs have just bombed Pearl Harbor!"

I didnít really understand what it all meant but with my grandmothers reply of, " Dear Heavenly Father!" I knew it wasnít good.

Everything was rationed. Sugar, coffee, tea, anything made with rubber and leather, gas, nylon hose. Thatís when women started using make-up on their legs and many went to work in factories that had never worked outside the home. We had tokens of different colors to use for meats and other things and there were also stamps for gas. They no longer made colored labels, new appliances or cars. Everyone had a Victory Garden because they got extra rations for canning food.

And those were the "Good old days."

Even with all that, I would say, yes, they were the good old days because we knew and loved our neighbors. We could go to sleep at night without locking our doors. It wasnít even thought of. Children could play out after dark at a neighbors house and not be afraid to walk home. Tobacco and whiskey were the strongest drugs known and we sang, " God Bless America" in school everyday.

I wonder about the future. What memories our children and grandchildren will have about their good old days. Will they remember that they were afraid to go to school even in the day light? That they were not allowed to say Godís name in public? That they could not sleep at night even with the doors locked for fear someone would break in and take them away?

It breaks my heart to think of what they will remember.

I thank God for my good old days and thank God that I can still say His name here on the Internet. I pray that will never change.

God bless one and all.

By Lora Cox ©2003

This story has been published. All rights reserved.