Memories of Clouds
I always wondered why I’m a little off center. The answer? DDT. “Here comes the bug man” was the neighborhood cry to rally the children together for exercise and adventure. Living next to a river, the mosquito population exceeded that of humans so we enjoyed bi-weekly visits from the truck. Three seasons each year, the bug man sprayed our neighborhood and us with this concoction of chemicals turned into a dense white gas.
In the 1970s a DDT truck meant a game of chase through the alleys and streets of Charleston, West Virginia, with my friends. Running frantically behind the truck, inhaling fumes as I sucked in air during this fast sprint that lasted for blocks every week, I never considered the dangers of what I was actually doing. The DDT truck became a parental favorite as well because it forced us into exercise and didn’t cost money like the Ice Cream Man who drove through the neighborhood.
The only warning given by my parents was not to run too close to the wheels so that I didn’t get hit by the truck if it stopped quickly.
Cough if you remember those days.
Now as a parent, I would “kill” my son if he ran behind a truck spewing pesticides into the air. How times have changed. While I look fondly back into my freer days as a 70s-child, adults have hopefully become wiser with regards to our children’s safety. I for one, am more protective and cautious with my son but the dangers seem greater now than when I was his age. A little pesticide? Today, that is harmless compared to what our children can gain access to.
Still I wonder what did I really suck into my body all of those years? So far I’m cancer-free; however, I am infertile. I am extremely sensitive to the sun causing me dermatitis when a ray touches my skin. Coincidences? I don’t know. But I do sometimes wonder. The bug man came and went in my life perhaps leaving a permanent health gift along with a truckload of childhood memories.