Archive for January, 2013

My friend Debby posts fun vintage stuff on Facebook, and recently posted this:


Wow, check out those ingredients.

Sore muscles? Check

Hangover? Done

Coma? Definitely

It’s amazing that product actually existed. Of course, those ingredients aren’t really that surprising. Well, the chloroform frightens me a bit. You know, when I was little, it wasn’t unheard of to give a kid a few teaspoons of brandy for a sore throat or cough. And apparently there was once actual cocaine in Coca Cola. Well okay, maybe one-millionth of an ounce, and that was probably back in the early 1900’s. But hey, don’t you dare eat Pop Rocks while drinking a soda or your insides will explode.

In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, you’d typically find these standard items in a medicine cabinet:

Rubbing alcohol



Vick’s VapoRub

Bayer Children’s Aspirin

Notice that nothing on that list is preventative. Just some fancy ointments and pills to treat something that could have been prevented, for example, Noxema. Ahh, I remember Noxema. That cool, refreshing feeling of white goop slathered all over you. It was nice, until you rubbed some in your eye. It reminds me of playing at the beach and scorching the crap out of my skin. Ahh, I remember Mercurochrome. It reminds me of long summer days riding my bike and wiping out on the asphalt. Ahh, I remember baby aspirin. It reminds me of rolling down the grassy hill at my grandparents’ house. Grandma would warn us not to do it because we’d end up itching like crazy. But we’d do it anyways. And we’d end up itching like crazy and running into the house to find relief from Grandma. She didn’t always have those yummy orange-flavored baby aspirin though — or Benadryl. None of those fancy antihistamines existed back then, at least that anyone could afford. She’d have to crush an adult aspirin into a spoon of sugar water and feed it to us while saying, “I told you so!” Just think, we took aspirin as little kids and didn’t end up dying from Reye’s syndrome.

Thank goodness today we have all kinds of modern medicine to cure our ills. Of course, it takes me about 10 minutes to find a standard-size bottle of ibuprofen in the grocery store. There are about five aisles of pain relief products out there. I remember back in the day there would be maybe one single shelf dedicated to aspirin, cough syrups and chest rubs. Same for cereal these days. I still can’t find Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. It’s like “Where’s Waldo.”

Back in the ‘70s, people actually smoked in grocery stores. Little kids would stand up in carts. Yeah, we wouldn’t even clean the cart handles with a sanitary wipe. Yes sir, it was a circus in there. Which is probably why my sisters and I liked to go grocery shopping with my Mom. Wait, I mean, HAD to go grocery shopping with my Mom. It took two carts to stock our kitchen, and Tracy had to navigate one cart with Melissa in the seat and Mom navigated the other with Coleen in the seat. I guess I was just there to supervise and beg for Skittles and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

There was no going to the grocery store every other day. You went the day after payday, which was usually once every two weeks. And you stocked up. And if you ran out of something, tough. You ate what was in the house. Ahh, I remember … Spam.


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