QUARANTINE

Editor’s note: Following is a page from my spiritual journal.

Gazing out the window at green grass and sunshine, I thought back over several months. Since March when JK and I first isolated, I feel a lot of empty space in my days.

Staying at home most of the time reminded me of 1952 when I was in Second Grade. That year, I caught the measles. One day I came dragging home and crying, “I don’t feel good!”

Mother touched my forehead. Not only was it hot, but lifting my bangs she found telltale red measle spots. She covered her mouth. “Oh, no! Recovering herself she said, “Sit down on the couch!”

Running upstairs, Mother returned with a stack of sheets, my blue blanket with the smooth edge, my pj’s and my pillow. In minutes, she made up my “sick bed.” (When I was ill, I stayed downstairs on the couch to be close to the bathroom.)

Over the next weeks of my quarantine, Mother checked my temperature and kept the blinds closed. Once my fever came down, I felt better and wanted to look outside. I walked to the window where Mother found me lifting the Venetian blinds to see the yard.

“Stop! Don’t do that!” Mother shook her head. Marching me back to the couch she frowned. “You have measles! You have to protect your eyes from strong light.”

That was that! No looking outside.

We were in quarantine. I’m not sure how that worked in the early 1950s because Daddy went to work. Only Mother and I were home all the time.

I remember wanting to get back to school. I had read all the assigned pages in Fun with Dick and Jane and finished my Think and Do workbook pages. Of course, I did arithmetic pages, too. Once my temper-ature was normal, Mother let me return to Mrs. Hyde and my classmates.

Sitting in my desk, I tried to be part of the class, but it wasn’t easy, I felt like a new kid might. I was just getting used to classmates and routines when I came down with chicken pox! I don’t think I was back at school more than two weeks!

Suffering another fever, I was on my sick couch bed again, with the blinds closed. Mother held the glass thermometer to the light, turning it to see the red line at least three times a day. At first I chewed orange-flavored baby aspirin. Once the fever left, I had to wait for scabs to form on my spots. Then I saw the doctor for a note—just as I had for measles.

This sick time was a little different. I not only ran a fever and broke out in spots, but my red bumps itched! Mother bought a bottle of Calamine lotion and smoothed thick pink lotion on itchy red spots. She left it on a table by the couch

It worked, but relief did not last. About the time the pink lotion dried, the bumps started tingling again. If I raised my hand to scratch, Mother frowned. “Don’t! You’ll have scars!”

If I didn’t reapply the Calamine, the spots soon “called to me.” When Mother wasn’t around, I scratched! Chicken pox were worse than mosquito bites! The insect bites went away in two or three days! I was quarantined two weeks with chicken pox!

I do not remember any-one wearing a quarantine mask back then. Not even the doctor wore one when he stopped by with his black leather bag both times I was sick. One good thing about both those spotty mala-dies: Doctor Turner didn’t give me a penicillin shot!

When I isolated during Second Grade, I read Little Lulu comic books, listened to The Lone Ranger on radio, did home-work and slept.

Now, I am doing the similar activities. No comic books these days! Instead I read books friends sent me until our library reopened.

Now I order titles from the online catalog and pick up the books outside.

I don’t listen to radio stories, either. Instead, I watch DVD mysteries and serial Masterpiece Theater stories from our library. I also cruise our Movies! Channel and view evening news and weather.

I suppose my “home-work” might be writing: working on my third book, Riding the Amish Bus and also putting Ninepatch together.

For this quarantine I am staying in, but I am not ill. In-stead, am proactively trying to stay healthy! Still, I am like the child I was when I was ill and isolated in 1952. I am entertain-ing myself and waiting for the problem to pass.

When I was eight years old, I got through a month of quarantine. I know how “to do the time!” Surely that early experience was part of God’s plan!

I am blessed!

Frances Fritzie

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