"Are You Tired of Having Your Face Look Like This?" asked my Grandmother
Oh Lordy Quarantine that child!
I have no photos of my face when it was at its worst
I hope there are none to be found
OK Now relatives 'with a vengeance' contain yourselves!
But, it was bad. My face had blackheads, pimples, and cysts from the time I can remember
One of the first things I remember Momma trying to do to rid me of blackheads
Was to make me lay in her lap and with the rounded end of a bobby pin
She would press it against my nose.
Not the best thing to have done...
Still it did not help, nothing helped.
Until one momentous day in Atlanta Georgia
In the wonderful, three room house of my Grandmother Barden
I walked into the screened in porch, got a hug and a smile from my Granddad
Walked into the living room
And one of my aunts screamed out,
"Oh my God She's Got the Measles!"
Now I ask You, Was That Rude, or What?
Besides the fact I was born in the early 1950s and had already had every kind of rubella, pox', rubella, croup, mumps, that every kid got before the vaccines came along how could I, already over 21 years old have the measles?
It was soooooo embarrassing...besides the fact that I had paid particular care to my makeup that day and was sure I looked better than usual!!
Dark Blue mascara, purple and pink eye shadow, deep pink rouge over Maybelline ivory makeup and of course the white pink lipstick....I was a bombshell and only 88 pounds at that!!
Such a cute outfit too, Momma had made Mary and I both wrap around sundresses that summer...Mary was the cutest of course but still...
OK OK GET IT ALL OUT>>>I HEAR YOU GUYS!!!!
It is funny now of course...it was NOT at the time.
In fact, I cannot imagine the agony of having that face come back again...and yes even at the tender age of ....whatever age I am...I still worry that it will come back one day...there is still this one spot on the right cheek where the worst cyst used to be...
Sorry, it is the nurse in me you know...we get really gross and don't realize it.
At the time of that visit to my grandmother’s house I was already in the last part of the college courses on a teaching institution campus...so I had access and took advantage of all the interns and residents that worked the dermatology departments...to no avail.
I had done the heat lamps and the needle punctures and the peels and the masks and all the creams and lotions and cleansers that they had in the early 1970s.
Nothing worked...everything in fact, seemed to make it worse...the only real relief came of all times in the summer, in the swimming pool but of course, by the time I was in college it was so not cool to swim...so I baked my face with guess what on it? Of course! The best tanning lotion of all southern girls.
So totally disgusting. Nevertheless, true...
So there I am, in the middle of summer, between quarters and nearly dead of shame; had to endure my mom talking about how wonderful it was that I had the advantage of being in nursing school so I could have the best care from all the upcoming doctors and how one day my face would be all clear ad nauseous...
But So much fun. When finally the day is closing down, the talk is quieter, the uncles are gone, it's the best time of the weekend...I had my cards read by Grandmother, future looks bright, trips and fun in the future but uh-oh what is this? This boy? Are you sure, he is the one?
Finally, when no one else was watching, Grandmother Barden took me onto the side screened in porch (that was where the ringer washer was and where Uncle Herschel convinced Grandmother the Bathroom could go...but that is another story) and into the bathroom, closed the door and sat on the toilet.
Grandmother Barden took my hands in hers, looked me straight in the eyes and asked,
"Are you tired of having your face look like this?"
Thank you Grandmother. I love you, wait for me.
Of course, the waterworks started, but she just started teaching in a sweet voice, not preachy, just common sense
"OK, this is how you do it" kind of voice you know? So the tears dried up and I began to really pay attention. Grandmother took a bar of light brown soap off the sink and showed me, using her own face! How not only to wash my face and hands but when and how often and ...this is the important part you guys...
WHAT PRODUCT TO USE TO NOT ONLY STOP BUT PREVENT ACNE FOREVER!
First, wash your hands.
It's amazing but the CDC must have spoken to my Grandmother because she knew about how and how often and how long and under the nails and rinse the water down and don't forget the15 seconds and lots of friction and all that stuff long before we taught it with the JCAHO Patient Safety Goals!
Then she washed the bar of soap again! Then and only then did she wash her face...with her hands; NEVER with a washcloth!
With her hands, starting from the dirtiest (my nose) to the cleanest (my neck), using her fingertips and a circular motion.
However, rinsing is an art all in itself.
She cupped her hands, and then she did not splash so much as placed and dragged the water from her hands starting from her forehead to her neck.
Grandmother Barden made a point of saying that rinsing must be done a minimum of ten times.
You think that was the end of washing your face and hands? No, it was not. Then she proceeded to repeat the entire procedure another three times and said that I should do this at the minimum of three times a day.
She warned me my face would get dry and that if I absolutely had to put something on my face if it was dry that I could use Oil of Olay.
But only four dots. Both cheeks, chin and forehead and do not use my hand, just one fingertip to rub it in...Very lightly....
OK. So far, so good, and no water on the floor, by the way, a feat I still am unable to accomplish!
The product my Grandmother put into my hand that day...oh yes I had to repeat her instruction what do you think; nurses are born or made?
She gave me my first bar of Octagon soap.
Grandmother Barden also talked about the fact that it is not as good as it used to be. She did not feel the lye was as good as it was when she first started using it....
But that it was this brown soap, which was very expensive to her...a quarter a bar at that time...that would keep my face clear of blemishes forever.
It took one month. One month you guys and since that time I have not put makeup on my face nor have I had acne!!!!!
I nearly freaked in 1979 when I moved to Tucson all alone, well, with my cat, Sheba, and could not find Octagon Soap! So there I was, in Tucson, on Grant Road, in the supermarket that started with an "A", I think...sitting on the floor of the soap aisle smelling every bar of soap on the lower shelf...I FOUND IT!
Yes! Just like Hellman’s or Best Foods Mayonnaise. Items have different names depending on which side of the Big River you are on.
On the West side of the Mississippi River, Octagon is Fels-Naptha and on the East side, it was Octagon. What a relief!
Sorry..Déjà Vu just came through...man Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend of "The Who" were they not the BEST! Here we are, February the7th, 2010; this author writing about 1973 and having the absolute pleasure of hearing a collage of The Who sung at halftime of some horrible war like game otherwise known as football...but that too, is another story. You guys will love it as well (I hope) as it will entail my beloved’s reaction to his favorite all time band as well as mine…which differs…but you just think you know what it will be about! hahaha
At any rate, their last part said it all does it not? Please "lets not get fooled again."
Where were we? Oh yes, how to wash and the Fels-Naptha to wash your face with versus anything else on the market
All that stuff that costs so much to heal your face?
All the trips to the dermatologist who probably never had a blackhead in his life?
It is not necessary...please tell your kids you guys...
It’s all about bacteria, germs, and washing your hands and face.
With lye based soap that costs an exorbitant amount of money now. A dollar a bar!!! Available on line...sometimes there is some in the supermarket if your beg the management but it’s online...
And it works...
But oh man weren't The WHO the BEST!!!!!!!!