August 9, 2011

Clorox Didn't Kill Me

Before we moved south, I really don't remember how my mama washed clothes. When we washed after we came to Alabama it was on a ringer type washer. I think Mama had an automatic, but I forget what it looked like. She made a great chore of everything. Nothing she ever tried to do was easy. She either did not have the right stuff or the stress of anything made simple chores harder than normal. She did do laudry once I know, because I tasted her borrowed laundry supplies. I know she did because I drank a glass of Clorox. I am living proof that a five year can drink a glass of Clorox and live. I had walked home from school for lunch. I was in kindergarten at Pageant School in Wayne, Michigan. All I know is I was so thirsty from the walk home. It did not matter what was in the glass. It looked like water to me. I was so thirsty that I gulped the whole glass down before I realized that it was not water. Mama had borrowed the glass of Clorox from Mr. Grass. Mr. Grass was the old man that lived just a house or two down from us on Morley. He always was willing to help Mama anyway he could. He knew that she was not having the easiest time of it. The Clorox was just one of many things that he let her borrow. Clorox might kill a child, but it didn't me. I have always really been tough. I have always been a pig when it came to eating or drinking anything. I eat my food and guzzle my drinks. I drank it and then ate raw wieners on a piece of bread. That was my quick lunch before I walked back to school. I probably was not even supposed to come home at lunch, but even then I thought I could do pretty much what I wanted and Mama didn't really care either. Mama's answer to remedy what I had drank was for me to take a bath. A bath in her eyes would make me feel better. I still remember how deathly sick that I was while I lay in the warm bath water. There I was in the tub with the raw wienies that I had eaten floating around with me. I had no more than gotten in the tub before the quick lunch I had eaten was coming right back up. The rest of the day is all a blur, but the wienies floating in my bath water are still a vivid memory of the day I drank the Clorox.


  1. From Dino:
    How funny! I did the same thing at the same age!
    My Aunt Sue lived in an apartment house on Locust St in the early to mid 50's. Mom and walked from our N. Florence home to visit with her one mild evening. While they were sitting on the porch visiting with other tenants I went inside to Aunt
    Sue's apartment and to the kitchen where I opened the refrigerator door and found a small glass (Swanky Swig) filled with clear liquid. I thought she had put a glass of water in the 'fridge for me cause she knew I loved ice water or cold water. After a couple of big gulps of that icy cold
    drink and I started spewing what was still in my mouth then began wailing cause I was familiar with the smell of clorox (which came in a dark brown glass bottle back then). Everyone left their seats on the porch and ran inside to see what was wrong. They had me drink glass after glass of water, whew ~ the real thing, until my 5 yr. old tummy couldn't hold anymore. After a good scolding from Mama and hugs from Aunt Sue plus a dime to spend at the store on the NW corner of Locust & Irvine on the way home, everyone sighed in relief and Mama grabbed my arm and marched me down Steamplant Hill to Willingham, then Sherrod and on home.
    *I was a baby when my 3 yr old brother, after watching Mama feed the clothes into the wringers to extract water decided he needed to see what would happen if he put his hand between the rollers. They took his hand as readily as any shirt but choked and stopped when his elbow reached the wringers and wouldn't go through. Mama didn't drive and Papa drove the car to work so Mama had a neighbor help her extract my brother's arm and he's screaming bloody murder and Mama said I had a dirty diaper and was also screaming.
    She was so upset and mad at herself for leaving him alone where the washer was running she sat down and started crying. Our kind neighbor took all three of us to the ER where the arm was checked out and then went back home. At 3, they said, his bones were soft enough that the pressure of the wringer rollers would not cause any permanent damage. He had great bruises for a while and Mama quit washing unless Papa was home to help watch the two of us.
    Love these old memories. My brother's been gone 5 yrs now. If you are reading this and haven't had a colonoscopy, are age 50 or if it runs in your family, schedule one immediately. My dear brother and only sibling died of colon cancer at 56. Just today learned the wife of one of DH's crew had a colonoscopy
    yesterday ~ polyps and a huge cancerous tumor too large to operate on according to her dr. So sad. They dote on their two grands and now she knows she'll never live to see them graduate from HS.

  2. Correction from Dino:
    Store was on the NE corner rather than NW.