Anyone that was raised the 80’s or lived during the 80’s knows that a lot of talk was done about HIV/AIDS. The media reported constantly about it, schools talked about how to avoid it, there was so much hype about the disease that I was terrified I would get it. Imagine how small children must feel with the Corona virus information now. I was around the age 10 when I first starting hearing about HIV. I did not fully understand how the disease was transmitted, I didn’t know what a blood transfusion was-we only had three channels & that was iffy, nor did I understand drug usage & I certainly didn’t understand what safe sex was all about. We had a huge blue medical book for laymen at our home that weighed about 10 pounds that I studied all the time as a child. I can see the book now. The pages were thin like rice paper, the type tiny, illustrations harsh, however, I loved reading it. I learned about so many disorders in that book, but it was an older edition, way before the HIV/AIDS pandemic was talked about. How I didn’t know what a blood transfusion was is beyond me & how I was such a poor student is completely bizarre. I knew/know about medical conditions that most people have never heard of, I’ve been diagnosing people since I was a child! With all the news & shut downs due to Corona, it got to me to thinking about the time I thought I had HIV. Before you gasp & start rumors, PLEASE read this all the way through, I think you’ll find this story amusing. I think about it quite often & always die laughing reminiscing over this tale.
I’m going to be like Sophia from Golden Girls. I could tell you the story in a few sentences & be done with it, but picture it…1984, back in the 80’s, most kids growing up were latchkey kids, meaning we tended to ourselves while both parents worked or the guardians you lived with worked. 1984, the same year Mary Lou Retton won gold at the Olympics. I watched Mary Lou through the fuzziness of our television over & over again for years thanks to our VCR. We lived in the sticks of the country & I was deathly afraid of death out there. A prison camp is & was located near my parents home, the home I grew up in. There was always a prisoner escaping or someone was lost, mainly soldiers that were dropped out to find their way back to camp, or a car breaking down. Invariably, there was always someone knocking on our door & typically it occurred when my parents were at work. I was scared of my own shadow. I’d call Mama at work regularly telling her I heard something or someone was outside. I know she hated when school was released because that’s when I’d start calling. We used to live in town, actually just two houses down from where our current residence is. The neighborhood was lively in town, kids playing in the road night & day. We walked across the street to our neighbors house which was the Parsons family, as in Benny Parsons the former NASCAR driver. I skated up & down our road in my strawberry shortcake roller skates, it was just a fun place to live. Our house was small & was a rental, our parents wanted a bigger home & a place of their own, so they built a house on family land-the boondocks as I call it. The road to get to our home was once a long dirt road that was about 6 miles long. There were no neighbors, no other kids, nothing.
I spent many a summer, vacation days, & sick days at our house, alone! This is also the same land where my Aunt Dot & Grandma lived, right down the road actually. Dot still lives there, Grandma passed away a few years ago. I loved going to their house. This is where my love for the Young & the Restless began, my passion for reading The National Enquirer after school, & that’s where I got the best fried cornbread with a fresh slice of tomato after school. When I got off the bus, I would be famished. The lunchroom didn’t usually have country cooking & I WOULD NOT eat foods normal kids ate. My lunches were typically packed unless the cafeteria had vegetable soup, chili or succotash. My lunchbox looked like Jethro Bodines. A tomato sandwich was often my choice because I didn’t like sandwich meat (still don’t), but the tomato had to be packed separately so the bread wouldn’t get soggy, pickles, a thermos of Pepsi because I hated milk & this was before water was considered trendy. Who knew in the 80’s that you could drink water unless it was out of a hose pipe! Without fail, the Pepsi would always spew, my sandwich wrapper & potato chip bag were always wet with drink, or the chicken noodle soup thermos I sometimes took would be covered in Pepsi. I was & still am a difficult person to feed! My school days were highly distracted because I was thinking about what I would eat when I got off the bus. If I went to Grandma’s, it would be fried cornbread or soup. At home, I would either eat the leftovers from the previous night or whatever Mama was planning on cooking that night. Mama would plan her meals the night before, but when she came home, there would only be one can of the Le’Seur green peas with onions in the cabinet instead of two, I ate them every time! She would be fit to be tied! I think this is why I wasn’t a good student, all I could think about during school was Victor & Nikki Newman, when the world was going to end thanks to the National Enquirer, & what I would eat after school. Funny story about the the world ending which may or may not be soon nearing. I remember reading in the tabloid the National Enquirer around age 10 that the world was going to end. Honey, I called all my girlfriends & cried my heart out! We were scared to death, we actually thought the magazine knew something. The age of 10 was very memorable for me!
Back to the original reason of this blog. I was home alone, laid up on the couch after a full morning of Sally Jesse Raphael, Price is Right, Card Sharks, & The Flying Nun chased down with Pepsi, Doritos, & pickles for breakfast & brunch. Noontime brought the news, I remember what channel & who the broadcaster was that made me think I had AIDS. Remember, I was/am a pure country girl with hardly any insight on the real world at that particular time & how this disease was contracted. It was channel 2 news, WFMY, the newscaster was Sandra Hughes-she was like family to us, we only had three channels at best & watched the same ones everyday several times a day! Any way, Mrs. Hughes was interviewing a man with HIV. They were discussing his symptoms. This immediately made my ears perk, I was fascinated by this disorder because I had not read about it in the big blue medical book I read as a leisure activity. The gentlemen she was interviewing stated he had bad cramping in his toes. Well folks, that’s all it took. I called my Mama that worked at Ellerbe Telephone Company & started crying & told her I thought I had AIDS! I am in no way making fun of anyone that has/had it, but this story is hilarious to me when I think back on it. Can you imagine your 10 year old calling you at work confessing they think they have a sexually transmitted disease or one caused by using contaminated needles? I can only imagine the look on her face & her thoughts! She wanted to know why I thought that, I explained the situation & she told me to stop being foolish. I was a bit of a hypochondriac at one point in my life thanks to that big blue medical book!
In the mid-80’s, that was all that was talked about. Every time we turned on the news they reported about HIV/AIDS, newspaper articles were flooded with information about it, Maury, Sally Jesse, Jenny Jones all dedicated their hours to the disease. Similar to Corona, but certainly not to the extreme that we are now experiencing. I still can’t believe this is our life now. We are all doing life differently because of Corona. Our poor kids, our marriages lol, our socialization. Of course this is all petty stuff to a certain extent, it’s depressing nonetheless.
Ava has driven me crazy cooking things during the quarantine. Let me tell you about her experience preparing a tiramisu. When she said she was going to be making one of these, I knew my kitchen was doomed! I don’t bake mainly because everything in the cabinets is used & the kitchen is a disaster area. This dessert was a two day process I was told. The first step was to make ladyfingers, which is basically a cookie shaped like a wide finger. That did not end up well, burnt on the bottom, but no problem, she carried on with the next step.
Ava is always early to bed, early to arise. It was going on 11pm when she began step two which was MAKING mascarpone cheese. Now who makes that unless you live in Italy? However, I let her carry on. It was when she began to make the cheese that I saw a pair of ladies underwear on the kitchen bar. Odd I thought, but figured Ava must of forgotten she laid them there & was taking them with her for after her shower. Nearing midnight, she comes into the living room to declare she is going to strain the “cheese” in her underwear. After I protested, she said, “but they are clean”. I didn’t care if they had been soaking in Clorox for two days, she was not going to strain that mascarpone in a pair of used underwear! I finally showed her the finer sieve for straining that blooming cheese. I was beyond ticked at that point. It was almost 12:30am & this was what the kitchen looked like & she wanted to use used underwear to strain cheese! I hate waking up to a kitchen full of dishes. She couldn’t clean them because Jack’s room is just across the kitchen & all the noise was keeping him up.
Day 2 of the tiramisu project, whilst Lee & I were at work, Ava completed the cream layers part. Tiramisu calls for rum. I am not a drinker of alcohol although I need to drown my sorrows often, I just don’t like the way it makes me feel. Lee does partake in a drink a few nights a week. I used to like to make him fancy drinks so I had a few things in the liquor cabinet. Both have been in our cabinet for years. One was blue curaçao & the other choice was Rock & Rye for colds. This child improvised the above two liquors in place of rum. This is the finished product. The completed dessert look magnificent, just like a tiramisu should. There was one HUGE problem, the inside was green like the color of snot & it tasted funny according to Lee. Lee was the guinea pig for this one, it did not touch my lips. It was then we found out she used actual alcohol for her dish! She got a 100 on presentation though.
Ava has too much time on her hands like the majority of the population during the quarantine period. Imma need this whole Corona thing over pronto. I’ve got a severely depressed son (Jack) & I am not being facetious at all about that & a daughter that is doing all sorts of extra stuff! There is a bush in our yard that I’m obsessed with the smell of, it is purely heavenly. Again while I was at work, Ava did an awful (pun intended) gesture, she tried to make me a perfume from that bush. How sweet of her, but she ain’t Brittany Spears or Katy Perry, why she think she can make perfume! She also “made” yet another concoction to ward off bugs whilst the diva was “laying out”. This concoction stayed on the deck until guess who cleaned it up, me! Ants were everywhere, they had taken over our deck. It would only have been a problem if I was able to actually spend time on it though.
How has Corona changed your life? Are you enjoying the downtime? Are you secretly or openly hating the people you are secluded with? Have you developed a new talent or love? Have you diagnosed yourself with Corona every single day since all this started? I start each day when I wake up saying, that’s another day without Corona-that is once I figure out what day it is. What is it with this virus that has made people forget what day it is? I’m so thankful I can laugh about all these stories, grateful for the memories, thankful I can write them down & look back on them when I get older & grayer. Hair appointment tomorrow, praise Jesus! 🙌🙌🙌. Ava mentioned tonight she was going to be making homemade Reese Cups, stay tuned!