November 6 – One of Ma’s treatments had nothing to do with sickness as such, but I am sure she worked even harder to remedy a sad situation. When Skeets (my younger sister) was in sixth grade and I in eighth, several children in our schools, while being given a routine examination by the nurse, were found to be infested with head lice.
This disclosure necessitated a thorough examination of ail children. Sure enough, it turned out that both Skeets and I had been harbors for the lice that had jumped ship as it were.
What a task for Ma! Both of us had long thick hair, hair reaching down to the middle of our backs. Well, what to do?! Ma got a galloon of kerosene and a comb used to groom dogs. Every day she would carefully and thoroughly rub kerosene into our scalps leave the smelly liquid on for awhile, and then comb our hair over newspapers spread out on the floor. Each day brought a shower of lice and nits. But after each treatment, the harvest of dead bodies became less. This went on for two weeks before she felt that we were truly clean from the detested vermin.
All this time we had missed school. Finally when we were allowed to return our hair looked especially dark and glossy. It took weeks to get all of that kerosene out of our hair, but at least the lice never returned. As for the girls who had brought the lice to the school, they had to have their heads shaved. The nurse wasn’t taking any chances of having another epidemic. I suppose the wrath of the parents of the other children they infected had something to do with her decision. – CHRIS