My last quarantine and the cotton candy pink prom gown

During the wonderful warm spring of my senior year, rubella (also known as German* measles) swept through my high school. This was before the measles vaccine. It is highly contagious and itchy. Some people get very sick. Really sick.

I was smug because I had them when I was young and “they said” you don’t get them twice. Well, “they” were wrong. Obviously my immunity wasn’t informed of that.

I had red splotches all over. Gross red splotches. In places you could see and those other places that are embarrassing to scratch. Even some lady parts.

It was right before the prom and graduation. School was fun at this point. All the important exams were done. There were all sorts of activities going on. Lots of celebrations.

My doctor “quarantined” me at home for five days. Rubella is bad for pregnant women especially in the early stages of pregnancy. Kids who were diagnosed were instructed to stay home.

My case was very mild. I was splotchy rather than ill so I could focus on self pity.  “Why me?” and “it’s so unfair!” I wailed in a loud voice. My mother was a saint. I would have slapped me silly. She just rolled her eyes even as I assured her that my life was over.

My behavior was embarrassing. I’ll blame it on that cotton candy pink prom gown I really wanted to wear! With pink dyed satin shoes.

I was fortunate. I recovered fast with no lingering side effects. I attended the prom, my graduation and way too many parties. I’ll still never forget that feeling of desolation. As silly as it sounds, it was soul sucking to think I spend twelve years working hard and wouldn’t get to enjoy the final fun part.

I’m not making light of the true victims and all the tireless people who are working 24/7 but I have a spot of empathy for the kids who are missing out too. Some of them don’t get it. I didn’t get it at their age. It was my mother who kept me grounded. Not everyone is lucky to have someone like her.

Author’s note: It’s called German measles because it was identified by German physicians as a separate disease from the common measles. Not because it originated in Germany.

pink prom dress

No, my dress wasn’t this pretty. Dresses at that time were more sleek and modest. This would be considered a “plunging” neckline compared to what I wore!

61 thoughts on “My last quarantine and the cotton candy pink prom gown

  1. Well I’m sure you looked pretty in pink, splotches and all! It is a real tragedy for kids not to be able to go to prom when they so look forward to it and have spent so much money on it! or so I have been told.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Proms today are not like the ones in my day. Our prom was in the gym. My date took me to a simple restaurant for dinner first and I was home by 11. There was a corsage. No limos, no overnight excursions (that would have horrified my mother!), no rented tux. My gown was around $25 (although that was the 60s). There was no plane in the sky writing out my invitation either!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can relate to all of that Kate, gym, restaurant, no pre or post parties, date driving dad’s car, but my time period was the early 70’s. By grade 11 the prom was cancelled due to problems with alcohol and drugs (although I never saw any in my little world), although we were allowed to have a graduation party dinner and dance off sight at a hotel, where I wore a long dress I cringe to look at the pictures today…..

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yeowza! I had a friend with a hilarious (for us) story about peeing on a ground bee’s nest (by mistake) while hiking in the wilderness. We laughed so hard. It ended with her in the hospital (took a couple hours to get htere) for multiple bites in her netherlands. The story went on and on. There was still a bee stuck to her when she got to the hospital and it stung one of the ER docs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rubella is nothing to sneeze at and can cause all sorts of health issues to sufferers, especially older kiddos. These days people are poorly equipped to deal with something like that thinking there has to be a pill or an app that fixes everything. Too bad there isn’t one for stupidity. While most peeps are adhering to the 6 ft. social distance in lines, they climb right up your back side down the isles. *sigh
    Stay safe and keep smiling. I’ll bet you looked great in pink.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My gown was a little pale for my complexion. The one is the picture would have been better but still, I felt like a princess. Rubella causes birth defects in unborn children along with a long list of other serious consequences. Wish we would have had the vaccine back then.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. How frustrating it is for the class of 2020. They have spent their whole scholastic career waiting to walk and be handed that diploma. Their prom may well be cancelled. My heart aches for them. I have no words for them. I’m glad you got to wear your pink gown. I actually ended up going to three proms! My boyfriends senior prom, His prep school prom and my senior prom. So, sorry for the Class of 2020.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had regular measles and chicken pox the same year (as a kid); one was for Mother’s Day and the other on my mom’s birthday (Valentine’s Day) – she later told me she held her breath as Christmas neared.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had everything but the German measles during the winter months. It went through our school and everyone got them. I had several classmates with the German measles but it didn’t hit everyone. Maybe others who had it when they were younger had good immunity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I never had the mumps either for some reason. Maybe it never went through our school and I don’t have any siblings, so if I didn’t get it from my own classmates, a brother or sister wouldn’t be bringing it home and contaminating me.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Your feelings were natural for that time of your life. So glad it all turned out. You learned empathy for those kids going through this now. I didn’t like my high school, but senior year was the best. Especially that last semester. Everyone who had separated into different “groups” came together with the excitement and joy of graduating. We were all friends that last semester, and I enjoyed that time. I feel for those seniors in their last semester now.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this post. Kids tend to roll with the punches, so adults often underestimate how hard all this is on them. It’s great that your own experiences makes you able to empathize. My 20 year old had just started off with her own life/apartment/job and this dragged her back to mom and dad and her childhood home. She has good days and hard days when she is moody and frustrated. After reading your post, I am going to get even more patient with her.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thankfully you were able to attend. Like you I think about all those kids who will miss graduations, promise, dance recitals, weddings, etc. Then I see the images of what’s happening an hour from here in NY and I feel bad feeling bad for those events. But everyone has lost something through this, some much more than others. It all hurts.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. One of my sisters had the measles, and I vaguely recall her being quarantined to her bedroom. I had the mumps and chicken pox. We watched “Call The Midwife” on Sunday, and they had an outbreak of diphtheria. Since the episode was filmed last year, it was quite timely. And depressing! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I did ancestry research I found out my gr grandmother died of cholera at age 21 (she had a 1 year old baby). My grandfather died in the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918 and my dad died of complications from the flu in 1958.These outbreaks touch everyone is some way.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Had all those childhood diseases but mumps. Spent almost a whole summer in bed, Dr.’s orders for something. I didn’t feel bad at all. Glad you did make it to your prom. I should have stopped with my junior prom. Senior prom was a disaster. The old me looking back on the young me… I would have just went out with the gal pals and had a good dinner and laughed until we cried.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t go to my junior prom so my senior one was pretty special. I was dating a nice guy then. He had an old jalopy. Maybe a 1949 Buick or something like that but hey, it was transportation. No limos back then. No one could afford them.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s interesting to watch all the high school kids I know and get their reactions, which fall along two lines.

    Girls: “What? No prom? No graduation? No hanging with my friends?! This is The Worst.”

    Boys: “YES! No prom to deal with! No stupid ceremony with hats! I can play online shooter games with my friends and I don’t have to get up early and this is awesome! We should have this all the time!”

    Liked by 2 people

  11. That pink and sunny yellow – those were THE colors.
    Being ancient I also had all the “childhood diseases” (That’s what they called ’em) in elementary school. Mom was furious I got German Measles during fraction instruction time and she had to teach me those ( and she didn’t like teaching those…I blame my fraction fuzziness on marginal instruction – HAHA) She was also furious when I “didn’t cooperate” when my brother had chicken pox along with his friends and she took us over to friend’s house to play with them all – and I still didn’t get it until years later…and had to stay home and she missed work. Sigh There’s always an uncooperative child HAHA.
    I agree with Life with the Top Down. Missing all this stuff is disappointing. But maybe it’s a long over due group lesson for people and society?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I also feel sorry for those who are graduating from high school and missing out on all of the activities that go along with stepping into their next phase of life. That said, yesterday I texted with my niece who is a graduating senior. She’s finishing her studies at home and seemed to not have a care in the world. Now I’m in the mood to watch that corny 80’s movie Pretty in Pink!

    Like

  13. If this had happened during my senior year in HS or College, I would have been devastated about not getting to hang out with my friends before going our separate ways.

    And, like some of the Spring Breakers, I would have ignored the recommended social distancing while saying, “Party On, Dude!”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I feel bad for the kids missing these special events, but I feel worse about their parents taking their feelings about the UNFAIRNESS to social media. Some people just need to complain, even during a pandemic. My mother would have reacted just as yours did with a silent … “get over yourself.”

    I love the idea of a cotton candy pink dress, just elegant.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bonafide adults complaining about fairness? Really? You are officially an adult when you realize that life isn’t fair and you make do with what you are dealt. The dress, while plainer than pictured here, was girly.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. I remember having a chicken pox party when I was about 8. Every one wanted their children to catch it. I can’t remember why. Rubella I had after baby sitting a neighbour’s children. I also had mumps, measles, scarlet fever and whooping cough. We did not have proms or prom dresses but it has caught on here now. I feel sorry for the children who worked hard for exams that have been cancelled as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have two older brothers who are two years a part. My mother always told the story about one who got chicken pox and didn’t have to go to school. Every day the other one would go to him and say “Come here chicken pox so I don’t have to go to school either.” Both were in the grammar school. Our prom was the only formal event we had but it was much simpler than it is now. Now they rent limos and tuxes and do all sorts of expensive things. We just bought a dress and got a corsage and were very happy to go to a formal dance.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Well being old as dirt I went through the chicken pox as a baby and measles as a little kid so there was no angst involved because of my spotted conditions. Senior Prom for me was an adventure – my boyfriend and I skipped the dance and went to a drive-in movie instead. I never told my parents about that one! Fortunately my Mom hadn’t spend a bundle on a prom dress for me – I just wore the dress I’d worn to get my senior photo taken for the yearbook. Anyway, this virus is a “whole other thing” all the way around – I do feel badly for those who will miss out on this major event – it’s like the last thing you do before you head off to college and try to grow up finally (!) or get a job and live on your own, but it still is a PASSAGE and everyone should be able to go through it some way or another. Sad isn’t it………….

    Hugs, Pam

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is sad. I had all those diseases including whooping cough and mumps. My niece had a mild case of scarlet fever. Wish they would have had vaccines back then. I have scars from my chicken pox. I was too young to understand that you can’t scratch or you’ll get scars for life. Can you imagine being selected as valedictorian only to find out there is no graduation? Still we are much better off than a lot of other places where kids can’t get an education at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. My sister Sasha caught a virus about a month ago and my human didn’t quarantine her. And she should have!!! Salem and I both caught it as well. For several days we were all three throwing up everywhere and eating very little. Since Sasha got sick first, she had to go to the vet. Serves her right. Next time, I hope my human quarantines her. Lesson learned. So your prom was like “Pretty in Pink” huh? Nice. I prefer stripes though.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Oh I’d forgotten about rubella, so thanks [?] for reminding me of that experience. I did not like having it, I did not like the calamine lotion, I did not like the quarantine. I was a little kid so the boredom almost did me in as much as the disease. Also I didn’t get a pretty pink gown at the end of my quarantine, so I’m jealous of you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fortunately I already had the gown before I got it. If I still had to shop for my prom gown I would have been over the edge. (You know how teens are especially when they think something is threatening their dreams.) I did get to wear it but it was touch and go. Some kids got very sick and while the rash and disease is short-lived, there were side effects that lasted longer. I believe I was lucky because it was my second time around.

      Liked by 2 people

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