If you’ve frequented this blog, you know I loooooooathe White Diamonds. Having endured the presence of not one, but two Boomer women in my life who sported the scent, I can honestly say that it makes my stomach churn. Colognes are so subjective. In any event, these poor kids wish they were breathing the scent of rank perfume. Instead, they were stuck in an Oklahoma one-room school smack dab in the middle of the Depression, covering their mouths against the dust that had permeated the air and suffocated cattle. Dust pneumonia, aka the brown plague, proved lethal for children and the elderly. Makes the cedar pollen plumes of smoke in my home state seem tame.
1914, New Orleans. The Public Health Service, created in 1902, helped suppress an outbreak of bubonic plague by mobilizing this team of rat-catchers to eradicate the filthy beasts which spread the disease. Seems like backbreaking work to me, one that would not necessitate a hat and tie.
An army of 380 workers swept across the city to carry out the campaign. In a single week, they inspected 6,500 railcars and 4,200 buildings, fumigated 101 ships, trapped 20,000 rodents, laid nearly 300,000 poison baits and discovered 17 infected rats.
Using good scientific protocols, workers recorded data for each trapped rat, and when a laboratory analysis identified an infected specimen, its point of origin was subjected to a scorched-earth campaign of fumigation, burning, and in some cases, complete leveling.. Tactics like these went on daily, citywide, for months.
Ground Zero in the geography of rats proved to be the Stuyvesant Docks, where that first infected specimen had been found two years earlier. Here, mechanical conveyors transferred Midwestern grain among railroad cars, ships and elevators. Coupled with the warm fresh water of the nearby Mississippi River and ample nesting opportunities, the Stuyvesant elevators were a veritable rat nirvana. The campaign made them into a rat graveyard.
Death to the Black Death!
Bonus rat fun fact: Cagney never actually said, “You dirty rat.”
Below you can see celebrities like Grace Kelly helping with the effort.
Founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as the National Center for Infantile Paralysis, it became known as the “March of Dimes” when the call went out for regular Americans to simply give a dime – ten cents – to fund research into a cure for polio. The call came from entertainer Eddie Cantor who mused, “Nearly everyone can send in a dime, or several dimes. However, it takes only ten dimes to make a dollar and if a million people send only one dime, the total will be $100,000.” The dimes poured in and by 1955, Dr. Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine. Eventually the disease was licked and the March of Dimes turned its focus to birth defects. –www.deborahnorville.com
That’s me in the corner, except with more coughing fits and joint pain. Oddly enough, that was how I felt when I first took to writing on WordPress one year ago today. For whatever reason, my immune system is compromised immediately after Christmas and fearfully close to the New Year. Anyhoo, it was that state of under-the-weatherness that caused me to vent on serious issues like baked potato toppings and the inaccessibility of egg nog at this time of year. I know: I need a bridge, a straw, and a full cup for my First World Problems. If you don’t know to what I’m referring, here’s a peek:
So thanks to all my readers as I post this 250th post. I appreciate this community of interesting people and look forward to another year of following the great blogs out there! Now I need to go eat some chicken soup.