The year was 1946. I was just a innocent nine year old. The country was going through a massive transformation from a wartime economy to a peacetime economy. Formal rationing had just ended. I still have some of my ration cards from that time. Only two people participated directly in the story I am about to tell.
The story was related to me by my mother. The local newspaper in Nampa, Idaho where we lived published an advertisement that the J. C. Penney store in town had received a shipment of nylons which were to be available for purchase at their local store.
On the specified date, my mother, and my grandmother, eager to return to the realm of high fashion, made a pilgrimage to the J. C Penney store. My mother described the scene to me. “There was a mob of women inside the store beating on each other, scratching, and pulling each other’s hair in a mad scramble to get to the tables where the hosiery was displayed. Your grandmother simply said, ‘Minnie, this is no place for ladies, and we left.’”
That story has stayed with me for 75 years. I think it has informed my approach to civility, responsibility, and inner peace and harmony. Anytime I become aware of a mad scramble for anything, I am brought back to the memory of my mother and my grandmother turning away from that event with their dignity intact.
I am now of an age which neither my mother nor my grandmother achieved. I also have more than one physical ailment which make me more susceptible to the ravages of Covid-19 than most of the population. I do, of course, have the ability, thanks to those who care deeply about me, to isolate myself. Nonetheless, I will not engage in a mad scramble to push forward to be the first to get a vaccination. Yes, grandmother, that would be no place for a gentleman.