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Kids in quarantine get red faces and redder behinds

Measles, decades ago, seemed to be a pretty mild disease, especially when compared to current events. But my cousins and I made a mess of it when we were semi-quarantined, three of us, with a strong case of the disease.

The ‘semi’ part was that we were just told to take it easy, drink plenty of water and — especially — rest. We promptly ignored all that advice.

I was 11, my two boy cousins were 10 and 7 respectively. My cousins and their parents were living with us for a few months while my uncle was awaiting the start of a job he had secured. He watched us during the day while all the other parents were at work. Uncle did not believe in sparing the rod.

For us squirts, our living space was a small room on the second floor with a double bed for the two boys and my twin bed. It was rather close quarters, but we managed.

The first couple of days were not bad, our fevers were low and we slept a lot. That didn’t last long. Devil boredom slipped in and we were restless to do something, anything, else. At first we decided on a jumping contest. We jumped a lot. How high for how long, lots of arguing over calls and plenty of noise. Quickly we heard clumping treads on the stairs and dived for the covers and shut up.

“What have you rug rats been up to?” my uncle yelled.

“Oh, nothin’,” was my reply. We were sweating like mad and very red-faced.

“Knock it off, or I’ll give you all something to yell about with my paddle,” he said.

We quieted down for a while. It was inevitable — we could not keep still. We gave it a day or two. Then my youngest cousin, who felt cheated in the previous game count, decided to smack his brother in the face with a pillow. Older brother retaliated, and soon the three of us were swinging away, feathers flying everywhere. Up the stairs came the paddle with a very angry parent attached to it. We all got several good strokes until our nether ends were quite redder than our faces.

Our parents were furious and soon found out that our temperatures had risen very significantly. The doctor told our parents that we were fortunate that we would probably not have any serious consequences. We cost them a good bit of money, because they had to have a part-time nurse for us. We did not have much fun after that for several days. Our temps went down, our behinds cooled down, and peace reigned once again.

Harvey Rupp lives in Ashland.


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