Most of us over thirty have experienced some form of quarantine, long before vaccines were manufactured. Chicken pox, several varieties of measles, mumps, and polio were common and rampant.
I can vividly recall my mother picking me up at the bus stop. My age? 6 or 7. “When we get home, Sue, you need to go upstairs to your room immediately and change your clothes.”
“But I’m hungry, and I need something to eat before we go out to dinner.” On Fridays, our cleaning lady/babysitter/drill sergeant, Louisabelle, cleaned and watched my younger brother and sister, while my mom grocery shopped and got her hair done.
“I’m not sure we are going out to dinner.”
“Why?” I loved Friday night dinners, particularly those at the Italian restaurant.
“Mrs. Taylor called me this morning….” Oh, no! My best friend’s mom. She and my mom never hesitated to report on inappropriate behavior. I searched my brain–what had Giny and I done.
I interrupted, “Giny wasn’t in school today.”
“I know. She has chicken pox, and if you don’t already have them, you will in the next few days. Of course, so will your brother and sister.”
“Are you and Dad going to get chicken pox too?”
“No, we had them. We’re immune.”
Hmm. I wasn’t sure what that word meant, but I guessed it meant safe.
One by one, each of we three kids, had chicken pox and survived without the benefit of a computer, video games, cell phones, and color TV’s. We colored and drew. I read both alone and to my siblings. Since I was the only school-aged child, the county health department required I be cleared to return to school. My dad had just served our breakfast, my mom was upstairs changing bed linens when the doorbell rang, “Dr. Meikle, I’m the visiting nurse and am here to check on Sue.”
“Come in, we’re having breakfast. Would you like some?”
Breakfast? We were plowing through a dozen donuts! My mom came downstairs and was horrified. A dentist serving his kids donuts! She fought for control, until I was certified to return to school. She immediately dismissed us from the kitchen and had a very loud “discussion” with my dad.
I went back to school. All was well, until measles came calling and so did the donuts!