Saturday Stories: Playing Doctor

Ha!  I wonder what kind of Google searches I will come up on with a title like that one.  When I was little, most of my play was pretend.  I was an only child in a military family.  That meant that I moved a lot, had no friends for more than a year or two before I had to start over in a new place and that my imagination had to be pretty good.  It helped that my grandmother and mother both took the time periodically to play with me, too.

One of my all time favorite things to do when I was a child was to play dress up.  Mamie, my maternal grandmother had an entire dresser filled with old hats.  She also managed to keep a few other fancy dresses for me to wear when I visited her house.  In my own home, I had a bag filled with old dresses.  One of my favorites was a bright blue crocheted skirt and jacket set.  Both were fully lined with silky material of the same shade.  I am not sure where my mother found the outfit.  I am pretty sure it wasn’t hers.  Along with that outfit, I had a pair of clear plastic high heeled mules with a sparklie thing on the top.  They were glass slippers in my book.  I wore them for years!

When dress up became boring or if I had recently gotten a supply of pills (aka sweet tarts), I begged my mom or grandmother, if she was visiting, to be my patient and let me be the doctor.  You have to understand that I have never liked sweet tarts.  I didn’t much like medicine, either.  It seemed fitting that my least favorite candy became a substitute for yucky tasting medicine.  Both Mom and Mamie were awfully good sports because neither of them liked those candies either.

I was about 8 when I gave up being the doctor.  I remember that last time vividly.

We lived in Ohio.  My mom and I started playing, just the way we had many times.  Mom was tucked into my bed and I was flitting around the room like I thought medical personnel would.  I came over and checked on my patient.  I felt her head and prescribed a round of medicine (it must have been after Halloween, because I wouldn’t have had that stuff any other time).  I turned my back on the bed and moved to get the sweet tarts.  As I approached the bed, my mom decided to add a little artistic flair to her performance as a sick person.  She sat up with her arms out stretched and her eyes wide open, moaning in the way of a tormented soul.  I was so startled and scared that I ran from the room screaming.

I never could bring myself to play the part of a doctor again.  To this day, Mom starts to giggle as she recalls how she scared the wits out of me that day long ago.

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