Listening to every heart
Because of this reference starting point…
and because I still feel a sense of sisterly [and brotherly] solitude here, I will relate a little story that happened, oh, about 1968….
My folks were industrious. They worked hard, but all of the mouths to feed took what dollars Mom and Dad could scrape together, we were never really ahead of the game. I thought all women worked outside the home as a matter of course, and that was before feminism hit hard in the late ‘60’s and by the ‘70’s, I learned that, “women were working outside the home…”. It did make me wonder what other mothers did all day…
But I digress.
Mom worked outside the home for awhile – at an answering service, nights, so she could have the days with the kids, and Dad could take care of us in the evenings. But the way the kids were spaced out and such, we needed to have extra hands and hired on a teenager to live with us [and later was “adopted by us” – she’s such a special person and another story altogether…]
But even then, Mom and Dad could see the value of Mom holding down “a job at home”, so she quit the answering service and set up a free-lance secretarial-type office in our house. Took up most of the kitchen, but we still managed. We had a mimeograph machine, an IBM 300 typewriter [it seemed like it weighed in pounds it’s own model number]; a folding machine which later led to what was called an Addressograph machine – a large, metal machine that slid metal plates through a feeder to “automatically address” your basic junk mail/flyers, Buyers Guide, things like that.
So you can tell, of course, with that kind of machinery, we were expanding from the kitchen to the use of the garage for the Addressograph [both the mail stamping part and the label maker itself [not a fun machine, and certainly not a quiet machine! – metal hitting metal? Ow! On the ears…]
The business also grew into Mom’s manager’s house as well…
Their livelihood flourished. Even among regular kitchen activities of baking bread, making jam, not to mention feeding lots of mouths – our clients were never sure if their work was going to contain food particles and spots of spaghetti sauce or what – but their work was always delivered promptly, clean, and spell-proofed, checked and double-checked, and usually earlier than the estimated time. The folk’s business grew.
Because of Vandenberg AFB being close by – made for another reason that a lot of Mom’s work was resumes and such – of course that led to another story as well….
So, picture a 16-year-old working outside on the Addressograph one day…the tedious movement of left arm picking up a flyer to place under the stamp, the right foot pushing on the lever to bring the stamp down, right arm taking it away, and stacking…and of course, being slightly competitive, we always strove to try to beat the previous worker’s hourly number of plates sliding through and magazines or flyers neatly stamped and ready for the mail…
Did I mention this is tedious work?
You know how one yawns widely doing tedious work? So wide, as a matter of fact, that one’s eyes water? Yeah, those kind of yawns.
Well, that was what I was doing. The clanging/banging of the machine was getting to me, and I gave one terrifically wide yawn. So wide, that I popped the bone out of the socket on the left side of my jaw. Now, when this happens, one would think it’s funny…
It’s NOT funny. The bone gets lodged up against an inner muscle and if one tries to close their mouth [they can’t] the pain is excruciating!!!
Panicked, I run into the house with my mouth firmly lodged open. Of course the first thing Mom says is, “close your mouth or you’ll catch flies!”
Trying to talk with an open mouth is not easy…a lot of unhnuh’s come out. Of course tears were streaming down my cheeks and I think I can honestly say I gave my folks their first real medical conundrum…neither of them had seen anything like this and neither of them knew what to do.
Who says folks don’t learn something new every day?
Cut to the chase – Mom is calling the doctor’s – indicating that father would be bringing in the eldest with a mouth condition they didn’t know how to describe – other than I couldn’t seem to shut it.
[Gee…sounds like a teenager’s syndrome, propounded!]
Dad is driving nervously downtown – we lived on the south side – the doctor’s office was just slightly north of the central part of town – or north side as I remember it. I’m laying my head on my dad’s lap as he drives because [duh] I’m 16 and don’t want anyone to see me with my mouth shut open…and I’m crying my eyes drier than the desert that lies just to the east of us; and because, well, darn it…I’m embarrassed that I don’t even know what I did to myself…and it hurts, big time.
You see, the muscle that connects the jaw to the rest of the head goes relatively untouched, always…unless you did what I did. A numbness sets in when this very “accident” occurs; and you don’t know it hurts unless you try to shut your mouth.
So, I’m 16, twiggy, shy, and horribly confused at what I did to make my Dad and Mom so darned upset and nervous. Oh, did I mention naïve? NOT to mention that I had to leave the “paying job” that was going to see me through my first year of college [at all of $1.25/hr].
[But keep in mind, at that time, I was still charging only $.35/hour to babysit other kids…]
So we get to the doctor’s. So I’m scaring the patients that are in the waiting room – teenager with mouth open – that MUST mean trouble, right?
The doctors’ nurses know US as a family – and as people who take care of doctor’s calls from the answering service – from Mom’s immediate work and service for the doctor whenever he needed forms, pads, whatever…he was a FAMILY doctor. And he was our family’s doctor. He called in from delivering a baby to put me in a quiet cubicle and whoever was with me – they were to stay with me. And he would be there soon enough – and I would be the first patient he would see.
He was one special doctor.
The procedure to “cure” my little problem was simple enough – but unless you know? You don’t know.
The doctor, a tall, good looking, bearded gentleman, said in a quiet voice,
then, put his thumbs back and onto my bottom molars, then with his forefingers, under my chin, pushed down with his thumbs, and up with his forefingers, and “pop”…my errant jawbone was back in place.
Yes, you too can do this little magic trick on yourself!
He recounted a story, as my jaw regained composure, about a doctor’s wife [who apparently didn’t know the trick] who would pull this stunt every occasion when formal ceremonies were in order; and of course, her doctor was my doctor…and she, unfortunately, was neither young, nor sober…and at least I could smile at him, for I had been quite sober…
But he cautioned, once done, this very matter could happen again, and the best defense was a clenched jaw when a yawn came on….
I’ve been clenching ever since. It was not something I could forget, lightly.
BUT…the most embarrassing moment?
Was when the most handsome doctor asked if he could test his results, and require a quick kiss on the cheek. I think my Dad must have been so relieved, he didn’t even think of what the question was, that had been asked.
The docs can’t get away with that, today.
And sometimes? That could be considered most pitiful.
There will be more stories about that Doc….
Thank you, Lady, for giving me a place to share.
[This message has been edited by Sunshine (06-10-2004 09:44 AM).]