02 October 2011

Aye, There's the VapoRub

I had a rough time of it when I was a child. My asthma and allergies were so bad that I almost died three times before I was ten years old. Back then, in the early 1960s, there weren't a lot of medicines that children could take for these issues, so I played test subject for a lot of home remedies.

My favorite was chewing honeycomb from hives in the Phoenix area (where I was growing up). Back then, you could go to any local supermarket and find honey grown in your own city -- complete with pieces of the honeycomb. My mom would take out the comb, slice off a small piece, and I would chew it like gum. The point of this was to expose me to the very pollen to which I had an allergy. Doing this over time helped me develop a slight immunity to those allergens. (The same theory is behind why we get allergy shots.)

My least favorite was having my chest rubbed with Vicks VapoRub -- a sticky gooey mess that my mom put on my chest under a T-shirt. I suppose the fumes helped my sinuses, but it stank and was sticky and the T-shirt was hot. Every time I smell eucalyptus (one of the ingredients), I flash back to those many days and nights of having a sticky chest.

I was recently listening to one of my vintage radio programs and heard a commercial for VapoRub from 1933. I understand the product was already 28 years old. Here, then, for your listening enjoyment is a 1933 radio commercial for Vicks VapoRub.

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