Mid-century festivities seemed to involve the tight mass gathering of young people.
This Renault is overflowing with ladies.
But more popular than cramming cars was cramming booths. This telephone booth is purportedly crammed with 22 California college boys. The only cramming I did in college was for exams.
Another tactic was to go in sideways. Good thing most folks weighed under 200 lbs then. I’d hate to be the fellow at the bottom or the one with a receiver stuck in my side.
Today’s cramming is mostly limited to food. And boy, do we ace that!
Kiddos swing their hips at New Jersey’s Brookside Swim Club during the 1950s, while moms look on. With a club record of 3000 spins (who was counting?), a 10-year-old boy claimed victory. I bet most of them didn’t last two minutes.
Spin while you can, son. Vertigo sets in as you age, at least in my case. Unless of course, the hoop is an onion ring. But then you get your cardigan and khakis all oily.
Who needs a carbonated beverage when hot and hunky Randy is only a meter away, and his Chanel Pour Monsieur is wafting toward you on the wings of love, mingled with the musky scent of teen athlete? Focus, Joyce, or you’ll drop your pom.
Hormones are high all around. Looks like she’s got designs on this guy.
The sight of Bill literally made Sally’s jaw fall open.
Too much nuzzling!
A’courting we shall go.
He shall be mine by nightfall. I will yet ensnare him.
While Knuckles McGee appears to be subjecting her partner to pain, they’re actually just bopping to some 50s jive. What really gets my attention is the ducktail hairdo, in all its greasy glory. You don’t see that one much these days. Looks like a lot of work!
Now that businesses are opening up, folks are itching to get out of their houses and back to work. After seven weeks sans income, my husband returned to his job, carrying his mask and his hand sanitizer (which they are selling at 7-11 for $8 at about 3 oz!), making the arduous commute into Austin. Many young folks in Austin aren’t wearing masks at all, or much of anything, according to this picture taken at Lake Travis on Saturday. I guess they figured social distancing is just a suggestion.
My heart breaks to think of the healthcare workers on their feet for multiple shifts at a time, unable to eat or bathe, trying to cope with the trauma they witness as best they can, scared to carry unseen germs into their homes. My heart breaks for the victims who had no loving hand to hold during their final moments, no solace or comfort before they left their bodies forever, bodies destined to be shoved into makeshift coolers in New York. Perhaps it takes maturity, decades of learned compassion, prioritizing and realizing that this life is not about selfishness, and we all need each other to make it. Survival of the fittest is not the goal.
I get it. I want to be where the people are. I want to cavort again. But even though I’ve daily jogged and tried to stay positive, taking hot baths and reading scripture, ignoring endless negative articles thrown my way, I evidently could not tell my own body to chill. My muscles got so tight and restricted in my neck and chest last Sunday, that I could barely breathe for two days, and I wound up in an ambulance, headed to ER (the last place on earth you want to be during COVID). My temp was 98.0, and I had no cough at all, so they didn’t waste a virus test on me. They determined that the chest pain, SOB, and left arm numbness was not a heart attack, and sent me home. As they said, the job of ER is not to diagnose, but to “rule out.” That said, don’t be too hard on yourself if your body, your hormones, your emotions are so out of whack, no matter what you do for self -care. Dr. Phil said we are all in a fight or flight mode designed to last for several minutes, not several months, and we can’t control the way the body chooses to deal with it.
So I’ll stay home yet again, watching the cars roll down the street.
Knowing that soon, I’ll be riding tandem bikes again.
And crossing streets with my peeps.
Watching films at the theater. Okay, I won’t do that because I hate seeing movies in public, listening to babies cry and patrons chew popcorn loudly. Guh-ross. But you can.
And won’t we be celebrating then?
Perhaps your state will start re-opening as per its Phase I guidelines on May 1st. Perhaps it’s May 8th. All I know is it WILL be May, and folks will be getting prepped and ready to shine.
Betty can breathe on Martha, and Martha can cough on Mary.
Carl won’t have to wipe down that wooden chair seat after he gets up.
The line at Great Clips will stretch past the adjacent Subway and Pizza Hut in the strip malls.
The cleaners will be packed with piles of people’s threadbare sweats and yoga pants.
Cobblers will be cobbling.
Diners will be packed elbow-to-elbow.
People might even board public transportation.
Ew. Seriously gross. Kirk is even having second thoughts about cushions never cleaned.
Butchers will be butchering, fileting, de-boning, and slicing deli meats and cheeses.
Department store racks will be scoured for wider waistbands.
Bars and restaurants, clubs and dance halls will throw open their doors and welcome the traumatized masses, stumbling in to relearn dances, to rebuild their tolerance to cocktails, and use public restrooms.
The streets will sound with joyous rapture and merry harmony. “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye” to coronavirus.
At least…for now.
Today we continue in our appreciation for the medical field, who has been streeeeetched to their limits during these past several weeks, and will probably all be suffering from PTSD for the rest of their lives. But back in July of 1970, high-haired Connie Wharton and Jean Davis were keeping it casual and lowkey while lifting newborns out of stork/kitten/kangaroo boxes at Jefferson Davis Hospital, the first publicly-owned Houston hospital to accept low-income patients.
Fun fact Friday: the hospital was largely abandoned in the 80s, thought to be full of ghosts, named a city landmark, and then
destroyed renovated into artist lofts for the rich and crafty. Plus, everyone knows buildings cannot be named after a former president of the Confederate States; we’re too busy erasing history to make everything PC.
This next image shows nurses and patients at Houston’s St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in the Fifth Ward in March of 1959. Nobody likes to be barefoot, donning a hospital gown, but some encouragement, attention, and a fire truck can go a long way toward healing.
Our final Houston-based medical subject is Dr. Katharine Hsu, a pediatric doctor who came to America from China in 1948. She served as Chief Resident Physician in Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital in Shanghai, but when the Japanese invaded the city in l94l, she fled through enemy lines and joined her husband at Chung Cheng Medical College as Head of Pediatrics. Here she takes vitals of a shirtless youngster in July of 1953 at–you guessed it–Jefferson Davis Hospital.
Fun Fact Friday: After tuberculosis took the lives of her brother and sister, she made it her goal to stop the spread. She established a one-room, one-nurse pediatric TB facility which later expanded into the Children’s TB Clinic and Hospital, where she worked from 1953 to 1969.
Per her obituary in 2007, she died at the age of 93.
When the use of the drug Isoniazid proved beneficial in treating TB patients, Katharine envisioned using it as a preventive against the disease. Since her extensive testing and studies proved overwhelmingly successful, the preventive treatment was adopted worldwide…The International Biographical Center of Cambridge named her International Woman of the Year in l996-l997 for her contributions to medicine, research, and education.
Today we salute the men and women in past and present medical fields, doing their best to keep the rest of us alive, with all the skills to treat and diagnose when we are helpless and vulnerable.
Henry L. Hohl Elementary, April 1955: The first Houston-area students await the newly available Salk vaccine.
Needles aren’t fun, but they’re even less fun while wearing formalwear, like this group below.
Just like little Casey Carl Vaughn above, I, too, received an injection of the vaccine as a youngster. I imagine that’s also why you don’t have polio. Unless you do.
Below you’ll see a free clinic offered by the Houston health department in May of 1961. Residents lined up at the Minimax Store, where volunteers doled out 50,000 inoculations in one week. Ain’t nobody got time for paralysis.
Albert Sabin provided a cheaper alternative to Salk’s vaccine, by adding drops of vaccine to sugar cubes. No injection necessary.
This Houston nurse followed suit in 1962, adding drops of vaccine to sugar cubes.
But it was too little, too late for these polio-afflicted children in Philadelphia, shown way back in 1950 at a meeting with the chairman of the city’s March of Dimes organization. (Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries). Sometimes timing is everything.
Today makes a full four weeks of quarantine for us.
It’s the first Sunday in 13 years that I haven’t sung during the Easter service.
We miss going to the Strand and chatting up high-risk seniors on park benches.
I haven’t filled my gas tank since Friday the 13th of last month, the last day of school, and our last orthodontist visit for the foreseeable future.
No Ross, no Lowe’s, no Hobby Lobby. We can’t even drop off used items to Goodwill.
And how we miss our restaurants! Will our favorite server, Victor, still have a job?
Who will keep our iced tea full come summer?
Meanwhile, kids are hating self-quarantine and distance learning.
They’d rather be at school, texting friends and ignoring their teachers, eating lunch off poorly-cleaned cafeteria tables and discussing lucrative employment opportunities in the 2020’s. Add cyberhacker to that list, boys–and marginal girls!
We long for the days of popping into the grocery store quickly, without 20 minutes of pre-planning, gloves, masks, sanitizer pump, and a towel to protect our car seats from the questionably COVID-covered grocery bags.
Even a trip to the corner Walgreen’s requires the same preparation. Oh, for the days of running inside quickly for their 2 for $1 Arizona green tea specials!
I could be in and out in under 5 minutes!
No more sitting in goat-powered Radio Flyers, eating Drumsticks with chocolate nubs at the bottom of the cones, and spilling the neighborhood tea while the pharmacist informs Mom that the prescription for Vicodin is not legit because the doctor forgot to use the new watermarked paper for narcotics.
We’ve all been there, right? Those were the days.
Why, there probably won’t even be play dates until May at the earliest! No more construction paper tepees and happy little trees.
But this shall yet pass, and soon we will gather on the plains for campfire grub again.
Life will begin to bear a semblance of normalcy, although never exactly the same.
Until then, don’t let it get your gander up! That is, your dander. Happy quarantining!