Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Red, Yellow, Green, Blue

I was talking to my daughter today and she let me know that there is a contagious disease that is affecting a lot of children in her area of Indiana.  It is foot, mouth, and hand disease.  NOT hoof and mouth disease -- that's in cattle.

Symptoms are fever, ulcers in the mouth, rash on hands and feet.  But it is contagious after symptoms are gone for up to two weeks.  So parents think their child is over the disease and let them go to school or swimming, and bingo, another child gets the disease.  It is contagious!

I remember when I was a child what having a contagious disease meant to the family.  That's why I titled this "Red, Yellow, Green, Blue". 

When one member of a family had a contagious disease -- most of which (diseases) don't exist any more -- the whole family was QUARANTINED.  That meant unless it was an emergency, no one in the house was to associate with anyone outside the house.  The Runnemede health department put a poster on your front door telling the world that your family was infected and they should stay away.  I remember standing on my porch and "playing" with Linda, who was down on the sidewalk.  I think we were playing catch or something -- not catch the disease, catch the ball.

So, if I remember this correctly,  a red sign was measles, a yellow sign was chicken-pox, a blue sign I definitely know was mumps, and a green sign was whooping cough.  I might have the measles and chicken-pox colors mixed up because I was only five when I started the measles quarantine at the Drexler household.  In fact, I also started the chicken-pox quarantine at our house.  My brother, Carl, was only six months old when I got it, and we were worried about him if he got the disease -- which he did -- a mild case.

Mumps -- I didn't get the mumps, but my brothers and sister did.  I had to stay home, and the books I had brought home with me could not be brought back to the school room.  I was in 5th grade at the time.

I guess you're wondering how you got rid of the post on the front door.  Your doctor would call the health department and tell them to take the sign down.  I remember after the mumps we waited for almost a week for them to come.  Meanwhile I was missing school, and not at all happy about that.

So, now they know that shingles comes from the chicken-pox virus, which if you've had chicken-pox you are eligible to get this awful, painful disease, which ruined our first trip out West (see yesterday's BLOG).  My dear husband had a bad case of it and we didn't even know it for almost a week, except that he was hurting so bad.  Since it was so hot, we thought it was a bad case of prickly heat.  I didn't get shingles, but quickly got the shot to help prevent me from getting them.

I hope the shot works.  It has so far.


Monday, August 20, 2012


I think my mom would have loved to travel given the opportunity to do so.  I know when her sister, Anne, went out west, mom anticipated the post cards that seemed to come to the house fairly regularly.  I still have those post cards, tied in a ribbon, just as mom saved them.  And, yes, I've read them.

Well, Alan and I just went out West, again.  The first time we tried a road trip of such a length, Alan got sick and spent a good deal of the time in one hospital or another.  It was the beginning of trips we were to take where he would end up in a hospital or ship's infirmary every single time, until this trip.

Yes, we actually made it around the circle and my dear husband didn't even feel ill.  Me?  We won't go there, but I didn't end up in a hospital.

We tried to keep the drive-time each day at around six hours.  We didn't always accomplish that, but we tried.  Now, drive-time is not time from hotel to hotel.  It's time in the car, driving.  I did all the driving, except for one day.  I decided Alan should try to drive.  There was little traffic on the freeway, and he really wanted to drive.  Alan can't feel anything in the bottoms of his feet so depressing the accelerator and brake are sudden.  Anyway, he took the wheel.  Fifteen minutes later I was back at being the driver.

He ran off the edge of the road -- you know when you're doing that on a freeway because of the rumble strip along the edge.  He ran off the edge of the road 8 times in 15 minutes.  Too many run-offs for me, so I told him to stop the car.  After that he counted how many times I went off to the right or left.  Once in six hours.

We started in Hannibal, Missouri.  Mark Twain's town.  Becky Thatcher's town.  Huckleberry Finn's town.  Tom Sawyer's town.  It is NOT a tourist trip.  In fact nothing is flaunted in Hannibal, MO.  It has a nice main street, little traffic, one or two good restaurants, a couple of candy stores, and typical Midwest homes.  It was enjoyable, but I had my fill after a few hours.

We then drove to Estes Park, Colorado so that Alan could attend his school reunion.  He had a wonderful time getting together with people he hadn't seen in 50 years.  Yes, that's correct.  50 years.
Estes Park is beautiful and the mountains are -- well, they're mountains.  Not like the Smokies.  These are MOUNTAINS.  Until you've seen the Rockies, you can't imagine high mountains.  We stayed at 7,000 feet.  The air was a little thin and walking was a matter of huffing and puffing from one place to the next. 

From Estes Park we went down to Pegosa Springs, Colorado, still in Rocky Mountain country.  Pegosa Springs is a town well visited by the characters of Louis L'Amour's novels and I wanted to go there and on to Mesa Verde, Durango, Dolores, and other towns mentioned in L'Amour's novels.

From Pegosa Springs we went down to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I liked this place the most.  Mountains?  Yes.  Different coloring though.  And Old Albuquerque was very interesting.  We hired a pedalcar driver and he told us some of the history of Albuquerque.  As he passed the buildings he pointed out which was a brothel, which was a saloon (there was a difference I suppose), which was a school, etc.  There were a lot of brothels and saloons in old Albuquerque, in the days of the cowboys and cattle herds. 

I hope to have pictures to put up on Facebook of the trip, which had nothing to do with Runnemede, but this is my BLOG and I can insert personal items from time to time if I want to.


I remembered something.

I sometimes think I'm losing my mind, really!

I can't remember things, like where I put my glasses -- oops!  I'm wearing them.  I'm so forgetful that I can't remember to remove them (my glasses) when I go to bed.  I sleep on my back since two surgeries in rapid succession and often fall asleep reading, or listening to the radio.

But...I did remember something today.  Something in the recesses of my mind came to the front and I caught it.

I had a friend -- a playmate -- and her birthday was August 19th, yesterday if you're checking the date on this post.  She was born in August, so she got to go to school before I was permitted to attend.  I had to wait a year.

I know I've related this story before.  After about the third day of her attendance in kindergarten -- we had full-day kindergarten back then -- I decided I was old enough and smart enough to go to school and beside I was lonely.  My playmate was in school and I was on the outside wanting to be in.  I walked right into the school and started to look for my friend.

I was found before she was found and asked to leave the building -- gently, of course.  I said I wanted to go to school and the principal (Mrs. French) told me that I would be in school next year.  I can just see me stamping my foot and telling her, "But I want to go to school now!"

Linda's birthday was August 19th and that reminded me of all the fun times we had a children playing in a play house her dad built, sliding down a sliding board her dad built, learning our stringed instruments together -- piano and viola/violin. 

Linda was always ahead of me in school but we still had Saturdays for several years before we realized that one year DID make a difference and we sort of remained friends until she went to college and I stayed behind to finish high-school.

Happy birthday friend.  You beat me to 70.  You look great and I suppose you don't feel quite 70, while I surpass you finally, because I feel 80.