Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Poison Oak

On July 19th, Karen at Author Mom With Dogs posted about her experience with poison ivy. And it reminded me of my adventure with poison oak.

After Mama married Daddy, when I was nine, I left St. Mary of the Palms School for Girls and went to live with them and Forrest.

And there were some adjustment problems. Some learning how to understand what was going on, because Daddy had a very different discipline style than I had ever encountered before. So, I wasn't always very happy. Considering that I had been away from my mother and brother for two years and disciplined by nuns in the late 40s and was so excited to be home, I sort of doubt that I was totally at fault here.

Anyway, that summer I went to the Santa Cruz Mountains to the St. Mary's camp for two weeks of reconnecting with all my friends. And the first day I was there one of the girls who was supposed to go home from the prior session had to stay there in the infirmary because she had such bad poison oak. Of course, the nuns took all of us out and identified the plant for us, so we could avoid it. But, remember I'm the child who ate watermelon seeds and cherry pits in the hope that they would grow out of my ears; I am as apt to have my own view of the dangers I'm warned against as not*. And I saw an opportunity to not have to go home for awhile, to stay in a place where I knew how to stay out of trouble. So, I went out every day and rubbed poison oak all over my body.

Damn. Wouldn't you know. I was immune.

* When I was told that if I didn't stop using such big words I would never get a boyfriend I started using my vocabulary as a screening device. I knew I didn't want a boyfriend who was afraid of a smart woman, so any guy who acted interested in dating would get my biggest words trotted out and flung at him. If he didn't back off, he was a keeper. That, and my great-aunt told me to notice if a man liked cats. Because any man who didn't like independence in an animal certainly wasn't going to be good for me.


AuthorMomWith Dogs said...

Just your luck! Actually, I mean that sincerely... says she who is still recovering from a blistered mess.

Deja Pseu said...

Hey, I'm immune too! I was always careful to wash with the Fels Naptha after I'd brushed up against some, but have never had a reaction from it. But my first ex-husband, the @ssh0le from Hell, was so allergic that he just needed to pass within a few feet of it and he'd break out. Ha. I'm just glad you weren't like him; he was pretty miserable in the summertime.

kenju said...

At camp when I was about 8 yrs. old, I rolled in a patch of poison ivy because I knew I was immune, but they didn't. They made me wash in naptha soap with boiling water! I caught it for the first time about 5 years ago - and I will go to any length to keep from getting it again!

Cherry said...

I love your point about using the big words with "boys" and about if they like cats. What great advice for young ladies.

My husband's reaction to Poison Oak gets worse every year, and generally has a reaction about every other month. Suppose maybe he shouldn't have gone into landscaping!

joared said...

I'll never forget the bout I had with poison oak -- none to pleasant to say the least. Interesting techniques you developed to cope with your situation. I really like the "big word" approach. Did it prove to be an effective measure of a man?