Blood and Band-Aids

bloody hand cut on floral wire at mailbox 0910

With orange handled Fiskars, I was cutting up little pills, dividing them in half with the scissors, one by one.   You have to put a lot of pressure into each cut when cutting a hard tablet.  Painfully, I missed and cut the palm of my hand wide open.  Bright red blood spurted out of a three stitch hole. I filled up a paper towel or two using direct pressure and held my bloody paw above my heart.

I reached for the Johnson & Johnson Band-Aids to doctor this one up myself.  Stitches are for wussies.  When the bleeding slowed down, I started applying a bandage, and that’s when  I “lost it.”

Grief is a sneaky thing. 

In the 1960′s through the 1980′s my Grandmother worked at Johnson & Johnson in Chicago and was the head of quality control for bandages at J & J (as we called it.)  Grandma Ashbaucher made sure every Band-Aid that left the manufacturing plant was sterile and perfect.  She was so good at her job, that she was twice voted Johnson & Johnson’s National “Employee of the Year” and flown to New York to receive Johnson & Johnson’s National Leichen Award.

 

So there I was, at the kitchen sink, bawling my eyes out, proud to be opening a J & J Band-Aid bandage, remembering my childhood boo-boos and the white tin boxes the Band-Aids came in, and accepting that the torch has been passed on to someone else, maybe another Grandma.  Not only did she have a stellar career there, but that company also paid for my father’s college education at Roosevelt University. He began working at Johnson & Johnson in 1960, at 19 years of age, in the mail room.  It took him 9 years of full time work plus part time night classes to earn his B.A. degree in Finance.  I attended his college graduation in 1969 when “Laugh-In” was on television, so when he came out in his black robe, everyone said, “Here comes the Judge” –like they did on the show.

My dad, James W. Ashbaucher, gave back to J & J for years, moving up through the management ranks, and later in his career, left to be a Vice President of several other international corporations.

Sadly, they, along with the era that brought us Johnson & Johnson’s No More Tangles shampoo, and Legg’s Pantyhose in Eggs, have passed away.  It is bittersweet when I see J & J bandages on store shelves–knowing that they are in my blood.

My favorite picture of Grandma Ashbaucher

So today, I put my Band-Aids on and cried; grateful for the childhood memories of my Grandma bringing home a box of Band-Aids that “flunked” her high standards, but were good enough for my knee as long as she added a couple of kisses to it.

 

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