Friday, February 3, 2012

Famliy History Writing Challenge: "Do Day"

When I was young, my aunt was the Director of Health Information for the Florida State Board of Health (now called the Department of Health and Human Services).  She traveled around the state giving lectures and teaching the public about health.  As she worked all week, Saturday was her day to get her errands (banking, shopping, etc.) done.  I would accompany her on these errand runs, which she referred to as "Do Day."

We all called our aunt, Elizabeth Reed, "Sissy" because she was our mother's sister. "Sissy" had a great sense of humor, and we would have silly conversations and sing silly songs.  She taught me "The Midwives' Song," which sounds silly but has a serious message.  The song was a teaching tool to educate barely literate country midwives in the necessity of such steps as washing the hands.  "Sissy" had a 1955 Chevy, wonderful car which is now a classic.  It was on that car that I, in 1962, at 14, learned to drive.  It steered like a truck, and was a great builder of arm muscles!

We would go to her bank, the American National Bank on Hendricks Avenue in San Marco, a shopping district of the old style -- independent shops lined up along the street.  Not like a mall at all, and the sort of shopping district the 21st-century "town center" style of shopping area is designed to imitate.  San Marco's shopping area is still there, and definitely is more authentic than the artifice of the "town center" design.  In the bank, an employee minded a cart which carried orange juice and lemonade, which she served in small paper cups.  The lemonade was just the thing on a hot Florida summer day.

"Sissy" patronized other shops in San Marco, too.  There was the Silk Shop, a fabric store owned by the family of an elementary-school classmate of mine.  When you walked into the store, if your eyes were sensitive to the sizing in the fabrics, you would very soon have red, itchy eyes.  It affected me, as did the smell of the sizing.  All of that is just a memory now.

"Do Day" was a fun time, and a great way to spend time with my aunt.

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