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American History
Strong and Weak

       Many times over the years during my life time I found myself placed in a position where I was responsible for people who were youthful. From the beginnings of my cerebral palsied child need for care to my own teenage children, their friends and many others, all have given me wonderful memories. The experiences I had with the head nurse at Chilocco did one thing for me. It made me compassionate and tender with those who were weaker than myself. I always remembered the abuse this woman dealt me and I think this made me want to protect those young ones who were struggling so hard to survive. I could go over in my mind now, there were so many, especially when we lived in Dallas, where mothers and fathers were working just to provide. Monkey blood was the order of the day (mercurochrome with not the pain of merthiolate). Children asked for “monkey blood” as soon as they knew it did not sting and then they wore their red badge. Parents never complained. They seemed thankful someone cared enough for their child  to cover a scratch with medicine.  It is strange how our mind allows us to heal our own wounds by trading rotten involvements for beautiful times with other youthful people. Maybe because of this, my love I had for my alma mater was never sullied. The joys I had while I was there are always with me, after all,  this is where I was taught my home economic background. I believe it was the practice cottage that burned a couple of weeks ago, January 2005. This was the house  where we stayed while we were taught to care for the employee's children on a daily basis.

      Back to Chilocco at the year of 1956.

      I looked up from my typewriter to see a girl standing beside the nurse.

       “Could you come in here please? I want you to see this girl's arm,”  my friend called to me.

      “Well, what is it?”  I thought.

      There wasn't any blood dripping but still,  I just wasn't that excited about seeing something unsightly with a medical problem.

      As if the girl was proud of her battle scar she turned her arm over so I could see the inside of it and stuck it out toward me.

     There was undoubtedly the most awful injury that could have been seen. It was in the form of teeth marks. There was already infection around the bite. The inside of her arm was swollen and red looking.

     My friend began to take care of the wound as she visited with the girl.

      “You will have to come in this evening after school so I can dress this again. The doctor will be here then and you must see him for this. When did this happen?”

        “This week-end. I got in a fight!”

        “No kidding.”  My nurse friend as usual was short on words.

        I had to ask, “why is that so infected so soon?”

       “Because the mouth is the dirtiest part of the body. All kinds of bacteria grow there on the teeth. This is like her having been inoculated with all sorts of deadly germs.” The knowledgeable woman was always willing to educate.

       The girl did return that evening to see the doctor. With antibiotics she was soon healing up. Her experience had made her a little wiser, hopefully.

Return to Donna's Chilocco Page


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