St Joseph’s

Like so many, I take a low dose aspirin daily. It has spiked interest in the orange chewable tablet once found in every family medicine cabinet.

St Joseph’s Aspirin for Children. St Joseph

We didn’t have sweets in our home. It was a deliberate choice, a way to avoid those hefty dental bills for a large family.

Desserts were never served at meals, candy only at Halloween, or in an Easter basket. Sodas were reserved for family celebrations, a few times a year. Homemade cookies and pastries were rare.

But we had St Joseph’s in a glass bottle, with a screw top, long before child-safety packaging. It was stored over the bathroom sink, in an accessible medicine cabinet.

Right next to the chocolate Ex-Lax, and the cherry flavored Vicks cough drops.

It’s a memory of early childhood. The St. Joseph’s incident.

My grandmother discovered the near-empty bottle and went into panic overdrive.

Who had eaten the aspirin ? We toddlers were summoned.

When I saw how upset she was, I confessed.

But I hadn’t done it. And my grandmother was not convinced.

My older sister maintained her silence. She was calculating her response.

“It wasn’t me, Grandmom”, but her words were spoken through sugary orange teeth.


I’m not sure what happened after that.ex lax There were home remedies, ways to induce vomiting.  She survived for further dietary adventures.

Like the cherry cough drops, which seemed pretty harmless.

And about that chocolate Ex-Lax ?

My lips are sealed.


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50 Responses to St Joseph’s

  1. Erika Kind says:

    Wow, the classic, children mixing up candies with pills. Glad all went well.

  2. Wow how scary! A wonderful story ugh

  3. So your family is the reason for childproof caps that I can’t get off! Ha ha. I’m so glad you and your sister survived. I ate herbicide as a toddler and did my own little trip to the hospital. Fortunately, no lasting damage (I think) 🙂

  4. Thankfully nothing happened. Phew! Children can make one’s hair rise in alarm. I gave my parents a fright or fifty frights…

  5. C.E.Robinson says:

    Home remedies memory! What was in the medicine cabinet? Don’t recall those brand names in the 1940s rural Maine. Do remember whiskey & honey for coughs, kerosene for chicken lice, soap & water enemas for constipation. 💛 Elizabeth

    • Oh, those “Ivory soap” enemas…glad to hear it was not just us.☺ There was a lot of medicine in those liquor cabinets at our house, too. They were kept out of reach. Thanks, E. ❤️

      • C.E.Robinson says:

        Yep, out of reach in our house too! Except for the whiskey bottle hidden in the barn. It was for me to give to the sick chickens. Imagine at 4-5 years old, I was taught that skill set! A few other necessary farm tasks too! Just a normal way of life back then! 💛 E

      • Pickled chicken…a new concept for me. ☺

  6. Ex-lax is the perfect cure for a chronic cough. Take enough of it and you’ll be to afraid to cough!

  7. Elyse says:

    Very scary. I read about the dangers of drugs all day long. Sometimes I am astonished any of us survived. My elderly aunts had a bin of things for kids to play with when my son was little. They had metal bandaid boxes and rolls from adhesive tapes that I’d played with as a kid. Since then t hey’d added brown plastic prescription bottles! I made them throw them away — and they thought I was crazy.

    (My brother once took Ex-Lax gum to school and gave some to one of my classmates. Poor Jeff was in the bathroom all afternoon.

    • Those ex-lax chocolate squares were so enticing. Dangerous to let kids play with Rx bottles…yikes. The latest from poison control folks might be those laundry pods that can burst in the mouth. Thanks, Elyse.☺

  8. TanGental says:

    well if the ex lax you had was like the stuff we had, then your lips would have been the only thing sealed…

  9. Oh my! Scary stuff Van! Do you have sweets in your house??? 😉
    Diana xo

  10. My sisters and I loved those Joseph orange pills…they were definitely candy to us as well. 🙂

  11. I was so disappointed when we got old enough to take regular aspirin! We still make a jello mold that is orange hello and Cool Whip and I’m pretty sure it’s cause we all liked those aspirin 🙂

  12. lbeth1950 says:

    Bet the Ex-lax was easy to trace. I loved those baby aspirins.

  13. Wow, and now “they” want to stop manufacturing the laundry pods (which I can’t live without), because of curious children. My daughter at age 18 months decided to “drink” nail polish remover (smelled fruity). I didn’t even know I had any but it was stashed away in a closet on a low shelf that she found. She couldn’t quite yet tell me what she did but I know she at least tasted it…much of the mostly empty bottle was down the front of her shirt. Called poison control–put me on HOLD!! We went straight to ER and they simply gave her ipecac. Did the trick. Sure glad you all survivied (as most of us do).

  14. I enjoyed this post very much. I can see myself in there.

  15. I wasn’t crazy about the baby aspirin but loved Chocks vitamins. I’m still not convinced that Vick’s cherry cough drops aren’t candy. Glad your sister ended up being okay.

  16. Deb says:

    Oh what a fun story! Ok your lips may be sealed but… 😉
    Oh we had our home remedies too…yuck! When we would get a chest cold, my mother would take two square pieces of cloth about a foot long on all four sides, smear lard all over one side of them and then sprinkle each lard-covered side with nutmeg…THEN one piece of cloth would be placed on our chest and the other on our back and safety-pinned together to keep them on. Well first it was so cold because of the lard, which was kept in the refrigerator, then once it warmed to our body temperature it got so itchy from the nutmeg! OMG it was awful, but not quite as awful as the teaspoon of butter that would get plopped into our mouths if we were coughing and coughing during the night!!! We would be so afraid to get a cold!! HA! 🙂

  17. Sadie's Nest says:

    Oh no! Although I never had more than a dose, I loved those fruity-flavored bitter aspirins. But I really loved my grandma’s chewable vitamin C tablets!

  18. George says:

    I remember those days and products…I don’t miss those products…:)

  19. Love your stories.

  20. joey says:

    Oh boy. I always think I grew up with such granola goodness until I hear how other people had it worse. My mother bakes decadent pies TO SERVE TO OTHER PEOPLE, but for just us, it was always ‘good for you sweets’. Ugh.

    • Oh, it must have been hard to see them go out the door. Yikes. I really didn’t know what we were missing until I left home and the dorm served dessert every day. (10 lbs. later, I figured it out. ☺ )

      • joey says:

        I knew what I was missing, and yeah, that freshman fifteen was surely mostly comprised of pudding, lol! 😛

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