Remembering on Thursday: The Mumps

I’m old enough to have had the mumps before the MMR vaccine was available.

Of all the childhood diseases, the mumps are the ones I remember being the most miserable with. I only had them on one side but that was enough. My face and ear hurt. It was hard to swallow. I felt miserable.

I remember, too, lying on the sofa under the pink wool blend blanket, that blanket that got pulled out when you were lying on the sofa and not feeling well. It’s funny how a blanket could be so comforting. When my dad died, it was one of the things I took from the house. I don’t use it any longer. It’s worn and thin compared to the fleece blankets I have now should I need something more than a crocheted afghan, but it’s not something I could ever get rid of.

My dad was home and we were watching a moon shot that morning. He explained the countdown, as always. I don’t remember everything he talked about what they were doing during the countdown, but I’d heard it before. I just didn’t feel like thinking that much. I remember the excitement of watching the rocket finally blast off, though this time I remember being less excited because I just didn’t feel good.

Honestly, the memory is like a photograph–this image of me and my dad on the sofa. He was sitting there with the newspaper, watching and I was lying down under the blanket, as we waited for the blastoff. I don’t remember much more than that at all. Even my dad explaining things about the countdown could have been from other times when we watched the moon shots on television. I just remember this one because it’s intertwined with being sick and feeling icky.

It’s funny how something that I remember as being so unenjoyable is one of those moments that I hold so dear.

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