Monkey Blood          - 6/5/2015      <--Prev : Next-->

I have a three inch scar on my forearm that has been with me since I walked through a glass door at age 4 years old!! No stitches needed, Mum just applied good old 'Monkey Blood'!! Seldom seen these days mercurochrome was that panacea for all ailments back in the fifties....perhaps it contained mercury like the amalgam fillings in our teeth, the awful vapors probably still lurk deep in our organs - but it did the trick.

Mom sat me on the edge of the bed and picked the glass fragments out with her tweezers! Then liberally dashed the crimson urgent all over and tied a bandage over to keep the sides together and to stop the blood flowing. We did not 'do' doctors in those post war days!!!!

Aunty Poppy minded us often when Mom was working, she wore pearls around her throat and a cloche hat with a genuine pearl hat pin. She was made of stern stuff and we seldom were allowed to visit a doctor unless we were a genuine stretcher case!!! Our medicine cupboard, high up in the bathroom was filled with exotic smells and bitter tastes that were horrendous to little people. Mom was liberal with her cod liver oil and malt, she would hold Gavin's nose and force it down his gullet, generally till he gagged and threw up on the floor!! She was also liberal with the back of her slipper, which generally descended on his posterior at moments like that!!

Mom also manufactured her her own home-made cough mixture out of prickly pear, it was foul but it sure stopped one from coughing, even if it was only psychosomatic in that hopefully one would never to have to take another giant spoonful!!

The cupboard was stacked with mysterious unguents and lotion in brown bottles, blue bottles and rolls of gauze and swabs.

There were very few medicines really compared with a modern medicine chest. Monkey blood fixed cuts and grazes, Phillips Milk of Magnesia fixed all to do with the indigestion problems, and dettol was used liberally for many other ailments, while pink calamine lotion was ever visible on our stings and bites.

Vaseline repaired all skin aliments, and Friars Balsam fixed the sniffles. Mom would make a bedouin tent out of a giant towel, place one nose-first over a steaming bowl of Friars Balsam and count to fifty which was excruciating....

Kids were tough in those days, grazes were part of growing up. I will always remember pushing Mums old Morry, it always refused to start on a winter's morning. Gavin and I would push it down the driveway as a matter of course, and one day I was too petrified to let go of the bumper and Mum dragged me quit few meters down the road on my knees!! I still have those scars to this day, and I will always remember Mum berating me for making us late for school, which she picked tar out of my kneecaps with a pair of tweezers, and hurriedly doused me with good old monkey blood!!

Plasters in those days were four inch square and had the most incredible sticking application. To get them off one would almost scream in pain as Mum ripped them off, and so one would generally volunteer to go without and just mop the excess blood with a hanky (we did not use tissues in those days, they were too expensive!!)