Posted tagged ‘staying home from school’

“Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.”

October 19, 2015

Today is cold, in the mid 40’s. The sun is back to playing peek-a-boo. Outside isn’t all that inviting so I guess I’ll hunker down for another day or two. I’m not completely rid of the plague as I still have a voice better suited for an obscene phone call than a regular conversation. My cough didn’t wake me up last night, but it is still hanging in there. My friend is bringing me bread, cookies and a lemon donut from Dunkin’ Donuts. I’m a happy woman, albeit sick but still happy.

When I was a kid, I don’t remember missing much school. I don’t think I was really sick enough all that often. A cold was nothing. It meant bundling a bit better with a new layer or two. We walked to school on even the coldest days. I remember my cheeks turned red and raw from the wind. We’d walk backwards away from the wind when it was the strongest and the coldest. School was a refuge where we could defrost and de-layer. I don’t think we really ever complained much. That was just the way it was. We all walked to school back then despite the weather.

I used to like soup on a cold day. My mother would fill the thermos from my lunch box, add some saltines, and maybe a half of a sandwich and some dessert. Usually it was tomato soup because I could drink it instead of needing a spoon. Bologna was the most popular meat for sandwiches. We always had tuna fish on Fridays when we couldn’t eat meat. My mother added mayonnaise, chopped celery and lettuce so the tuna fish wasn’t half bad. It was always on white bread. We never had any other kind of bread. I think I was a teenager before I found out bread came in many colors and flavors.

Back when we were kids our dinners were meat, potatoes, usually mashed, and a vegetable. We had bland palates. We were seldom introduced to any foreign foods though we did count spaghetti as Italian. My friends and I now eat all sorts of foods from a variety of countries. I know it was Ghana which first introduced me to really foreign foods like African, Indian and Middle Eastern. They opened the flood gates. Now I’m willing to try almost anything though I balk at insects, household pets and rodents.

“The most poetical thing in the world is not being sick.”

January 27, 2013

This morning I’m on the mend. My voice is still creaky and my cough fierce but I feel better. Last night I slept longer before the coughing woke me and was able to get back to sleep instead of having to come downstairs at some ungodly hour to watch garbage TV. Staying home cozy and warm and taking naps have been the best cure for this.

When I was a kid, I seldom was sick enough to stay home from school. My mother set the bar pretty high. Sniffles weren’t enough. Coughing might have done it, but the degree of coughing was the key. Once I had the measles so I had to stay home, but that was no fun because the room was kept dark, and I wasn’t allowed to read. I just stayed in bed all day and was totally bored. What a waste of staying home! I know I had mumps and German measles but I don’t remember when. I also had chicken pox, and I remember taking baking soda baths so I wouldn’t itch as much. My mother would scream if we dared scratch our faces. We were warned about the gross, ugly scars we’d have if we scratched.

Few kids were ever absent from school. One girl had surgery in the fifth grade, and it was such a singular event I still remember. Her name was Catherine. I don’t remember why she had surgery, but the nuns were really nice to her when she came back.

During high school you never wanted to miss a day. Two broken legs would mean dragging yourself to school because missing even one day meant missing tons of work which had to be made up. I used to argue with my mother that I wasn’t sick when she’d insist I needed to stay home. I did get sent home from high school once. I had the German measles which was going around. We went to school every day on the public bus so that’s how I went home, probably spreading German measles to the world. My mother didn’t drive then so the bus was it. I couldn’t stay in school. I remember it was a Friday. The reason I remember is there was a dance that night at the school, and I was stuck home. It made being sick even more miserable.


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