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My Delousing

September 17, 2010

The school nurse came to class one day.  I was in first grade.  We were seated in alphabetical order.  Tracey, the boy who sat behind me really liked my long hair.  He played with it and combed it with one of those combs with the handle that hung out of the back of his blue jean pockets.  If I had my choice, I’d still sit in front of him, and I’d let my hair get really long again.  It was one of those amazing treats that was wasted on a well rested six-year-old.

The nurse looked at the tops of our heads.  This was odd.  Had never happened before, so I sat quietly, waiting for my turn.  It was all quite exciting.

When she came to Tracey, she asked him to step into the hall.  She came to me and asked me to go into the hall too!!

I think we were the only two that got picked!!!


We got to go to the nurse’s office.

I’d never even seen it before.  This was really my day!

And the nurse, well,  she called my mom, who called my dad and I was picked up early!!!!

I had hit the jackpot! I had LICE! Yay me!!!!!! I felt really special.

So, off my dad and I went to the local drugstore. My dad was very quiet, whispering to his friend behind the counter.  I have always been outgoing, and could even be accused of over-sharing at times. There was a nice lady having an ice cream, there was a soda fountain in the drugstore and you could get nice sandwiches and ice cream.  And this older lady was enjoying her ice cream all alone, and I couldn’t stand for that, so while dad and the pharmacist talked in hushed voices, I made an announcement.  I was very proud. So, with my gap toothed grin, I told everyone in the drug store, “I’ve got Lice!”  It must be something good , because I got to go to the nurse’s office and go home early.

It really was a home run!  Surely, everyone would be thrilled for me.

At that point, according to my dad’s telling of the story, everything from his neck to his bald head turned red.  Apparently, he was embarrassed by my sharing this little piece of information.  So, he went on to explain that I didn’t actually have lice, but knits.  That was somehow better, or less embarrassing, or something.  I don’t know why he was so embarrassed, it wasn’t like it was the crabs or anything.

So, we went home with the shampoo and the special fine tooth comb.  My mom taught school and it would be a while before she got home and since looking at me made my dad itch, he decided to tackle it himself.

He washed my hair with a hose in the backyard.  He didn’t want me in the house at all.  I remember him pulling that fine tooth comb through my hair on the back steps of our house.  It was not at all pleasant like when Tracey did it.   It was cold that day, I do remember that.  But, I guess the idea of burning my mattress seemed more unpleasant than making me have the knots combed out of my hair with a fine tooth comb.   So, as daddy scratched for no good reason and combed my hair, I froze.  All the while, he explained to me that I needed to learn to keep things to myself, like my hair, and the fact that I had lice.

And so, here I am, 33 years later, blogging about it.  Some lessons are just impossible to teach.  I’m still an over-sharer.  And though, I still like having my hair combed, I now bribe Sam to do it.  I’ll often let him stay up an extra few minutes if he’ll play in my hair.  Cause, I’m cool like that, and chances are, if he has lice, I’m going to catch them anyway.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Katie permalink
    September 17, 2010 3:07 pm

    Oh man, that happened to both our kids a few years back. It took forEVER for the nasty little creatyres to finally go away! We finally discovered the mayo and shower cap trick, and we’ve all been able to let our hair down freely. ; ) What a mess.

  2. Katie permalink
    September 17, 2010 3:08 pm

    Let me say… “creatures”.

    I’ve had a lot of diet Coke today.

  3. September 17, 2010 3:53 pm

    i think it’s damn funny that – for so long that day – you thought it was a GREAT thing!

  4. September 17, 2010 4:27 pm

    Being is truly a wonderful way to look at the world. Such optimism, at all times.

  5. September 17, 2010 4:45 pm

    amazingly enough, I’ve never gone through it with my own kids, despite being “exposed” to infestations several times over the years. But I do remember having to treat my sister’s hair. I was 16, old enough to drive, and she was in daycare. I had to pick her up early and read the instructions on the box myself and pray that I was getting all the knits out!!

  6. September 17, 2010 6:55 pm

    I LOVE that you are an over-sharer, LL! Imagine if you had a blog back then…your dad would have been mortified. Isn’t it funny, now that you are the parent, how these things have such a different twist? Seemed so exciting to younger-you…nasty and inconvenient to motherly-you!

    I totally remember how we all had those combs sticking out of our back pockets!

  7. September 17, 2010 9:38 pm

    I love that you announced it to everyone in the drugstore! That is hysterical!

  8. September 18, 2010 3:55 pm

    Ha! We’re so luck you’re an over-sharer! Life wouldn’t be the same without it.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had lice. But, of course, now that I say that, I’d better look up home remedies for it, ’cause it’s a-comin’.

  9. September 18, 2010 4:04 pm

    That is just terrific that you were so proud of your lice! I wouldn’t have expected anything less from you!

    We live in Florida as you know and lice love our tropical heat. It is a constant thing down here. My girls, knock on all the wood in the world, have never had them. It’s probably due to the fact that they have so much product on their hair.

    My mom used to hand us the hair brush every night and ask us to brush her hair. I should do that, too!

  10. September 18, 2010 7:21 pm

    Haven’t had this with my kids yet, but I did get lice once growing up. Not fun. I love that you thought it was such a great thing! I would have died laughing! Your poor dad.

  11. September 20, 2010 1:56 pm

    I love this! What a story! And what a memory!

  12. September 21, 2010 10:56 am

    My head will itch for the rest of the day! The thought of lice makes me so exhausted that I can’t stand to think about it. You and I are the same in that bedtime bribe though – I love nothing more than having my hair combed and played with. I think having a daughter would be a perk in that department, because the boys will only be interested for so long. Dagnabbit. I’m falling asleep just thinking about it.

  13. September 28, 2010 10:10 pm

    Knock on wood, I’ve never had lice. But apparently it’s going around my kids school right now. Ick. Actually, what’s not going around these days?

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