After I first posted this, it became one of my most-viewed blog posts. Perhaps googlers thought it would be titillating. It was especially popular in other countries.


When I was a kid, one of the Boston newspapers had a section in the women’s pages called “Confidential Chat.” Women readers were supposed to ask questions and provide advice, all of which was published anonymously. I knew it was influential because my third-grade teacher followed directions she found there for turning a lump of coal into something that was supposed to look festive, using household ingredients like food coloring and ammonia. The result looked like a heap of pink and blue fungus.

Also, when our dog had some kind of mange, my mother read that it could be treated with an ointment made from sulfur from the drugstore and lard. I would guess that Crisco or any creamy substance would have worked…

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