So I had this whole other post idea brewing about vaccines and Dr. Wakefield and how pissed I was that I practically had a panic attack at Benji’s annual check-up where he recieved his third and final installment of the dreaded MMR. Not that he’s EVER had a reaction to ANY vaccine he ever had. Oh, well, he took a long nap once, but I’m sure that had more to do with the raging meltdown he had in protest to the shot itself rather than the actual thing–but we’ll never really know, will we? But when the doctor told me that he was in line to get that shot today, I forgot the fact that Benji stood for the eye test for the first time, ALMOST did the hearing test, let the doctor examine him without issue (except for the testicle check–but hey, can you blame him?) and is meeting or exceeding all growth and weight charts, yada yada yada. Nope. I heard “MMR” and panicked. FOR NO REASON OTHER THAN IRRATIONAL FEAR.
(Now of course I don’t mean to say that people who choose not to vaccinate because of this fear are irrational. That is their choice, and well, it’s their choice–that’s really all I have to say about that. But my kid has had no reactions, EVER, so my fear [and mine alone in this instance] is frankly, irrational)
So, as I left the office, my lil man still snifflin a little from the stinging shots, and with a pack of fresh stickers in his grubby little fingers, and my heart rate returning to normal, I began forming a blog post in my head to discuss how I felt, and how common it is among parents, blah blah blah.
But THAT topic got waylaid in the Trader Joe’s parking lot.
Ok. I normally wear this jacket on cold days like today:
It’s a vintage-style groundskeeper jacket from a company called Ebbet’s Field–who specializes in vintage baseball stuff–mostly from the Negro leagues. It’s awesome, albeit expensive stuff. So when a great sale came along a few years ago, my Old Man picked up the above, and also one for him from the Hawaii Islanders:
I’ve worn my jacket for a few years now with nary a comment. Until today.
Some old lady–we’ll call her Madame Incredulous–called me over to her after I got Ben out of the car.
“Is that real?” she asked.
Honestly, I thought she was asking about my truck–a Ford hybrid–which is more often the topic of engagement in parking lots. And yes, she looked that old that maybe these new fangled hybrid vehicles still confuse her a tad.
But then she pointed to my jacket. So I’m thinking–oh, maybe she thinks it’s ACTUAL vintage. Like she might have been around when the originals were worn. Ok, she wasn’t THAT old, but that picklepuss was damn close. So I informed her it was a replica.
“But that just sounds horrible–ASYLUM!”
Uh-oh. ”Well,” I began carefully, “that was the name of the orphanage that sponsered the purchase of these jackets at the time. You know–these guys were groundskeepers for the New York Black Yankees, in the Negro leagues. ” *nervous smile*
“Well, was it a reputable establishment? Did they treat the children well? Asylum just sounds so horrible.”
“I don’t really know, ma’am. “
It’s not like I was on the board of trustees or spooning out gruel at lunchtime…But, here’s an idea–let’s think back to all the orphanage stories you’ve ever heard? Any of them good? then this one prolly wasn’t a peach either!
[Of course, that thought got me to go look them up--and lo and behold, there was a Wikipedia entry and everything. And it musta been alright since NOT ONE KID died during the Spanish influenza outbreak of 1918. Take THAT, you old cow.
AND--it went out of business because of a crappy business deal with the YANKEES--yet another reason to hate them. The Yankees, I mean
And seriously, I just came across a book title called: The Luckiest Orphans: A History of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum of New York
Meanwhile, her husband–Herr Gigglemachen–was smiling at me fondly the entire time, which–along with the presence of my child, and a general respect for elders–kept me from rolling my eyes TOO much. I don’t know why he was so happy. General outlook on life, a respect for vintage-like materials, watching his wife get her irish up, who knows? All I know is that he was having a great time while she was turning purple with outrage.
“I just don’t think that is appropriate to wear that out in public. It just seems offensive.”
Oh really? IS offensive or SEEMS offensive–because i think we can all agree that these are two totally different arguments
“Well, ma’am, I’ve never had anyone say anything about it for two years, until today. Perhaps most folks just see it as a piece of nostalgia. I’ll certainly think on what you’ve said”
I KNOW, right? who the fuck possessed me at that moment?
“Well, I hope it keeps you warm!” and with a “harumph” strode away with Herr Gigglemachen in tow. He never stopped smiling during the entire exchange.
And I forgot all about my ire at Andrew Wakefield.
So now I know a bit more about this awesome ASYLUM, and the good works they did to help not only orphans, but widows and abandonded women, and yes, Madame, that knowledge does, in fact, keep me QUITE warm.