By Hub Dretzka, August 4, 2016 — My mother was a very intelligent woman. She instilled a love for reading early in our lives as she read classic poems such as “Hiawatha” and “Young Lochinvar” and “Evangeline” to us as we fell asleep. At that time our town had only one school, a massive structure with eight classrooms, a gym, and an auditorium. It was under the wing of the Milwaukee County School Board rather than a local one which may account for the advanced literature she favored for us.
She also was our family “doctor” in that our minor ills were treated by her.
If we complained about minor aches she would say, “It is just a growing pain.”
And if we were vocal in our dislike of too many vegetables on our plates she would stop us short with “Your body needs roughage, eat!”
She also performed minor surgery. When we had [anything] under our skins or a developing blood blister she would get a needle, hold it with a pair of pliers in the pilot flame of the gas range until it turned white hot, cooled down, and was safe to apply to our distress.
Mustard pads? Or course? Vick’s Vapor Rub not at all because the aroma could not be escaped for what seemed like days.
There were times when I wondered at her knowledge, then remembered that we received two Milwaukee newspapers a day, McCall’s Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, the Saturday Evening Post and the American Monthly. They must have been devoured by her and hints files away in her mind for future reference.
Today “fiber” is our roughage, tweezers our extraction tools, antibiotics our potent treatments for cuts or scrapes.
Doctor Mom would be in seventh heaven were she alive today; and if she owned her own drug store.