My dad may have had a Masters in Education and a BA in History and Math but when it came to household remedies he was strictly from the farm. This lead to some interesting treatments growing up. Bactine, no it was mercurochrome and methiolate on cuts. I can tell you right now those hurt like holy hell. Give me Betadine any day.
His cure for sunburn was to shove you in a hot shower. He said it brought out the burn and kept it from getting worse. Growing up before sunblock was waterproof as part of a very fair skinned threesome this lead to much screaming coming from the bathroom. The only thing that stopped him was when I finally got a third degree sunburn after two days of rafting down the American River. This was still before waterproof sunblock and we had gone with my dad’s adult Sunday School class and their families. When we got off the river on Sunday night I went to put my jeans on and I was too swollen to get them on. At that point I was just red but on the drive back to LA I started to look like an burned marshmallow and turn black. It only got worse from there and when we got home I refused to have anything to do with a hot shower. Why my parents didn’t think to get me to the ER I don’t know but we only went for broken bones when I was little.
By the next morning my thighs, one arm and my face were really bad and off to the doctor I went. The Doctor couldn’t believe I looked like that and started to prescribe all kinds of things and even mentioned the burn ward to my mom. As we were leaving the nurse pulled me aside and told me to go to the health food store and get 100% aloe vera gel. We did and the relief was immediate and though I pealed over and over again for literally months I never needed anything else except aspirin . I’m just glad you can only see the scars when I get really hot in bright sunlight.
But the worst were my dad’s cold/bronchitis etc cures. Some of which I still use and some I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. They thought I had bronchitis my first two years of life and I was treated with every antibiotic known in the 50’s which is why I’m allergic to sulfa drugs. It turned out I didn’t have bronchitis. I was allergic to baby powder but by then the damage was done to my lungs and the first place a cold heads is my lungs. I’ve had pleurisy and bronchitis so many times it’s ridiculous. All I had to do as a kid was cough and I’d start hearing things like, “Did you grease your chest?” This was short for have you put the extra strength Balm Ben Gay on? Because if you didn’t he was going to grab you and do it for you. I think he couldn’t stand the sound of the barking seal at high tide. That stuff is not meant for chest colds but his theory was anything that warmed the chest was good. He would have done mustard plasters if mom had allowed it. Meanwhile my skin is threatening to peal off from pain. If you put the adult strength on a fair skinned child it equals PAIN! But it does work if you can stand it.
If you had a stuffy nose the Mentholatum came out and he’d chase us around and shove it up our noses. I was an adult before I knew Vick’s existed.
We looked like refugee children when we were sick. Dad would put us in his old white tee shirts which dwarfed us and kept the grease in one place. This was before greaseless, scentless remedies. If that didn’t work I was soon to be head over a pot of boiling water on the stove with a towel over my head and something foul smelling in the pan.
Now I’ll settle for a handful of Vicks and some orange juice and an Ibuprofen.