“Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though sheâ€™s not really ill
Thereâ€™s a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a motherâ€™s little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day”
Nobody in our family talks about it since she died, but my father’s mother had an assortment of doctors and a pill for everything. Until he lost his license, she was a patient of ‘Dr. Nick’. It was a family joke when she was alive. Everyone knew what my grandmother did and we all knew there was no point in fighting it. She took pills to wake up, pills to get through the days, pills to go potty, pills to go to sleep, pills for everything. The story that went along with it is that after she got married at the age of 16, she was nervous and tired, so a doctor gave her tranquilizers. They made her sleepy so she was given amphetamines. They messed with her digestive tract so she got more pills and she became obsessed with her weight and appearance so she got an assortment of meds to go along with every new complaint. With her very young husband working day and night, doctors gave her the attention that her teenage woes needed. Keeping in mind that we are talking about the 1940-50s, she played bridge during the day with other young wives and they all swapped pills. “This really helped me, you should try some.” An entire generation of chemically dependent housewives. What’s the point of this story Cathy? In spite of all this, there really are times when it would be handy to pop a tranquilizer and calm the stress that builds up inside of me until I feel like I am going to explode like a cartoon thermometer.