Home Remedies

Do you remember when door-to-door salesmen were welcomed into your home? The Fuller Brush Man – Watkins Products – encyclopedia salesmen – Tupperware and Jewelry parties would go door to door and would entice you by offering a free gift to gain entry to your home?

Many other items such as milk, bread products, fresh vegetables from the farm and blocks of ice for your ice box (don’t forget to check the drip pan under the ice box so you don’t have water all over the floor.)

It was also the days of home remedies. Unless you had a serious illness, Mom and Dad always had a cure for almost all problems. I remember if I sneezed, Mom would rush for the baking soda. A large tablespoon of it in a large glass of warm water – ugh! However it usually stopped my onsetting cold. I was subjected to earaches and sore throats. My Father would warm a towel, carry me to his large rocking chair, smoke his pipe and blow the warm pipe smoke into my ear, then cover my ear with the warm towel. It always made me feel better and looking back I’m sure the T.L.C. was a big factor. Before going to bed a warm wool sock was placed around my neck. Many times my chest was slathered with Vicks Vapor Rub or even a Mustard plaster for more serious problems. I still remember the odor – ugh!

The worst treatment I recall when I had a sore throat. My father would take a long chicken feather (no tongue depressors available) and dip it into iodine and paint my throat with the feather (gag gag). He used iodine for everything – cuts – scrapes – bruises and splinter. Dad’s brother was a doctor and I think my father was a frustrated one!

Cod liver oil was always administered daily – especially during the winter months to keep us healthy. Mom would mix it with orange juice to make it taste better. It took a long time not to associate the two. I did like the taste of Castor oil which we were given for constipation.

One nice thing about home remedies was the shampoo made from Ivory Soap. Mom had a huge rain barrel next to the back porch. She used the rainwater to wash our hair and always rinsed it in lemon juice or vinegar. Our hair was always shiny.

I’m sure some of these home remedies are still used with good results. However I’m sure the door-to-door salesmen are a thing of the past!!!

Elsie Johnson
Southbury, CT 2012

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