See, this is nice, packaged, you don’t see the dead person, no shock at how much weight lost sick, no look of sunken cheeks, this is actually pretty nice, you don’t have to look at their faces, prepackaged and clean…..nice. The number is troublesome but all in all pristine, no having to look at the caked up makeup on purple hands from i.v’s and such, just a nice photo, if that, from better days.
In 1957 I was nine years old. I lived in a town of 7,000 people in rural Texas, Williamson County. We had a tiny Catholic school and that’s where my cousins and I went, my class size was 13 and seven of those were my cousins. The Catholic education consisted of going to church at eight, twelve, and three during Lent. It’s all we did.
In 1957 the Asian Flu pandemic hit us, we had no idea what it was and very little warning. Television only came on from eight in the morning until ten. Somehow the Asian flu hit Taylor and we all got it.
Unlike the mumps, chicken pox, and measles, our mothers were taken by surprise and we were not all put into one dark bedroom with our own bottles of Turpin Hydrate (Opium, pure Opium), until we all got well. We had herd immunity standards but the flu threw our moms for a big curve.
I was nine but I remember. I remember that little bed I was in, by a window, so sick and weak I remember hanging half out the window throwing up because I couldn’t even get to the bathroom. High fever, wild terrifying dreams, and intense pain. No, we didn’t go to the doctor, they charged $5 for a visit and $5 was also the monthly tuition for school so our parents had to prioritize.
I had lots of cousins and when I look back, I have a few cousin gaps. Cousins who didn’t make it through childhood for one reason or another, classmates, and people who went to church with us. I remember coffins and the strange smell of incense at Catholic High Mass. I remember standing outside in howling wind as they lowered the unlucky into the cold ground that year.
There was life before seat belts where people got thrown through windows, life without tough DWI rules, drunk people and their victims. I remember life before a lot of rules.
I remember how horrible life was before 911 when you could be terrorized by a family member and there was no place to go, except maybe to run and hide in the cotton field surrounding the house and sleep in the dirt which I did many, many times, as did my mother and many of my other family members as the men came back “like that” from the war.
Now I am listening to people who don’t believe that Covid is real, or that it will kill you. A life where there is no following the casket, it’s all pretty packaged and neat as a pin, you die, you’re disposed of without fanfare, no flowers, no viewing, your obit says, ” a memorial will take place at a later time”, except it won’t.
I remember when you worked hard and you could be proud of it, I picked cotton. Not many of those left, now I am not proud of it, don’t say it, because people have no respect for such things, now, it’s just money. Money and how it impacts the one who has the money, not the worker. My last job paid me $7.25 an hour, I was the only woman and when the boss gave every MAN in the place a raise of fifty cents, and didn’t give it to me, I quit.
There was a time I thought working hard meant something, it doesn’t. When you no longer have value your pride in hard work and heat stroke under a cotton wagon become a joke and you are now called “corn fed” by people who once professed to care about you.
Tuesday, this shit is over, the election is done. Covid, however, is just getting cranked up.
Most of the men I see just think they’re invincible, it’s 1988 and they’re rolling, drinks, cocaine, hedonistic fun, too much food, need to lose eighty pounds, have a knee replacement scheduled for after the Covid, stick legs can’t take that fat gut, the women I know are pretty much each worth about a bottle of wine a night.
Greed and the experience of life seems to be the only thing that matters The meaning of life, well, that’s pretty much lost and if you think you matter, well, your replacement waits in the basement.
Now you can look forward to the only one there who sheds a tear when you die, holding your hand or the hand of your mom, is your underpaid nurse’s aide who in the opinion of most of America doesn’t deserve to be paid more than $7.50 an hour, and certainly isn’t worth $15.
I see dead people.
Why didn’t he give me a raise? To keep me in my place. No better, no worse, just barely enough to keep me coming back, sometimes on foot which was ok with my four car, two home, two planes, boss. He’s for Trump by the way.
The flu of 1957 didn’t care, it killed across the board, old and young, mothers wailing at the foot of a junior sized casket holding their child that died in pain of the flu.