Pinworming in the sixties

hornblowerIt was about the time when Kennedy was assassinated…We lived at Engenheiro Miguel Pais, top floor. I do not remember where I went to school but it was either the Valsassina or the Pedro Nunes. This school period was never seen as being a great achievement on my part. Not by me, not by anyone else!  I have other memories.

I shared my room with a couple of budgies that increased in their numbers. They were quite happy to reproduce in their small cage and I suppose I took good care of them. I happily enjoyed radio plays with lots of action.

I had chosen to live with my mother and she was together with the poet and at that time also advertising creator Alexandre O’Neill. Sometimes we went out! At one time we quite often visited another couple. It was at João da Camara Leme’s and Minna’s posh apartment that these gatherings took place. Camara Leme was an artist and created illustrations for book covers and I think it was through this connection that I discovered my childhood’s favourite books- those about Captain Hornblower.

How we got to the apartment I honestly do not remember, taxi perhaps. I do not think O’Neill had a driving license; he certainly did not have a car. More often than not we would also meet up with Sttau Monteiro and Maria do Vale. What I did to entertain myself I do not know but in those days there wasn’t much so I suppose I listened to what the grown-ups talked about and that was specially rewarding as they were interesting people as anyone might understand. O’Neill was at one time rather excited about a recording he had done on 45rpm. On this recording he read out some of the poems that have made him a reference on the surrealistic style he pursued. I’ m sure Maria said that I behaved well, even though I suffered a lot on many of those evenings!

My guts were infested by pinworms- I was suffering from Enterobiasis.  These worms are white small parasites that in the evenings give you hell as they lay eggs literally on the regions of your anus giving you the most intensive and maddening itch. I remember how worried and at times feverish I got. It was embarrassing to talk about it so I kept quiet. The pinworm also known as thread worm is harmless and easily eradicated and when I told my mother she quickly got me a cure and a -don’t think about it anymore!

8 thoughts on “Pinworming in the sixties

  1. Sometimes I would come and stay the weekend in Eng Miguel Pais and I stayed in your little room. I don’t remember the budgies at all. It was a small room to the back with barely room for more than a bed. being in a strange place I found it difficult to sleep and would lie awake gazing through the window at the Lisbon rooftops and starry skies. One night I did fall asleep and when I woke up I was alone in the house. No mother, nobody. Thinking I’d been abandoned I felt terrified. I went to the front varanda and cried and called my mother. Some passerby must have taken pity on me and went to fetch Alex and mother from the Cister where they were enjoying a nightcap no doubt. I remember mother being furious with me for causing a scene. She hated wimps, even though I was only 5!

    • Once I woke up I didn’t find anyone. Mother’s bed was made so I got very worried that she had not come home.I went down to the Institute to hear if anyone had seen her. She was there working as it was still in the evening and not in the morning as I thought!

        • No, this particular situation was that I slept in the afternoon and when I woke up it was evening but I thought it was morning! This also happened another time when I was at the Colónia de férias in Praia das Macãs. But that’s another story!

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