Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sore Throat & Croup

    As a child, I (like my brother) had frequent ear aches and sore throats.  Mummy would unfold the bound-off blanket samples that her own Mamam had used on her, and take the beautiful cobalt glass jar of Vicks Vaporub from the medicine closet.  She would unscrew the metal lid (which I can still hear) and dip her fingers in the jar and then spread a layer of Vicks on my chest and neck.  It warmed my skin and the mentholatum made my breathing cool and easier. Then she would lay the small blanket sample across my chest, fasten my pajamas back across the blue and gray woolen stripes of the blanket, and pull the covers up.

    Vicks was a salve, a linament, something of a magic potion, something a witch doctor would have loved to have in his leather bag of cures. It dates to 1905, and was first called Vick's Magic Croup Salve, and when my mother was born in 1908 it was still Croup Salve, and then four years later they renamed it Vicks Vaporub.
    I can't imagine that it didn't work for any of us.  If I close my eyes, I can feel Mummy's cool fingers spreading the salve across my chest, rubbing it into the base of my throat, and I can feel the scratchy wool blanket.  Seventy years later I still do it, to myself.  All the things she did to make us well -- they work!  

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