Sunday, October 04, 2015

Sepia Saturday 299 : The Days Of Wine And Wampoles


This photograph must have been taken in 1949 when I was about a year old. That is, of course, me in the pram being watched over by my mother and my brother. The photograph was taken at the seaside, but forget the background, forget the watchers - just focus on that smiling little face. Now take a look at the smiling face of the child advertising Wampole's Preparation on the image prompt for Sepia Saturday 299. It's uncanny isn't it : the same smile, the same happy countenance, the same look of contentment. There can be only one conclusion - I must have been spoon-fed Wampole's as a child.

This conclusion inspired me to undertake further research into the nature of Wampole's - what did it contain, what was I drip-fed along with my mothers' milk? I eventually discovered this image of Wampole's on the website of the National Museum of American History. And suddenly everything became clear : Alcohol 12%! That is equivalent to the strongest beer you can find, the same as a glass of wine, not too far off a whisky with plenty of ice.

At the same time my father was signing me up as a member of The Sons Of Temperance (this is not a lie), my mother was spooning pints of Hardcore IPA down my gullet. No wonder I have turned out like I am . . . .  happy, smiling and very, very content.

Check out what other Sepians think of Wampole's Preparation by going to the Sepia Saturday Blog and following the links.

14 comments:

  1. My, how things change. Today, your mother would be charged for doing that...I'm glad you survived to tell us these things...Happy Sunday.

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  2. I see that Wampole's also contained Strychnine - it's lucky anyone survived it!

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  3. Amazing the sources of drugs. My mother's grandmother was addicted to codeine,via the bottle of cough syrup.

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  4. I'm with Jo. Between the questionable ingredients of medicines and the outlandish promises of advertising, it's a wonder we're here to laugh about it.

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  5. I think you are smiling because you are at the beach, not due to being fed 12% alcohol wampole's. But maybe not. I had a little doll stroller just like the one you are sitting in.

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  6. Coming from a family who all suffered dreadful indigestion I was fed buckets of Woodwards Gripe Water as a small child. it had a picture of the infant Hercules strangling two snakes on the label. I've never beed quite sure what that has to do with indigestion (or wind or gripe).

    These days Gripe Water seems to be made mostly of calcium carbonate and dill. When I was little it was full of alcohol and sugar and tasted great. It's now guaranteed free of both and is probably much less tasty.

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  7. Surprisingly here were quite a few innocent products that contained alcohol.

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  8. "that little smiling face" you said. I had to do a backflip and look at you in your pram again for what I had seen was two scrunched up eyes, frowning eyebrows and a child bawling his head off. Sorry, it really is a beautiful child with a big smile, rosy cheeks and blonde hair. :-)

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  9. My parents thought nothing of feeding us whisky water as a cure-all. My grandparents rubbed teething babies gums with rum.

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  10. Your last paragraph had me laughing out loud. Great post. Fun picture!

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  11. My parents told a story of traveling in France when I was 1+, and they stayed at a hotel where the matre-de recommended creme-de-mint as an appropriate infant formula. I can't say the taste was memorable. I suppose Wampole's was not available in Paris.

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  12. Maybe it's just the sun in your eyes, but I think you look more like you're crying.

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  13. Lovely photo Alan, you were a bonny baby indeed and born in the same year as me if I’m not mistaken.
    I wonder how many Wampole's babies went on to become alcoholics (this is said with, tongue in cheek, but it does make you think).

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  14. So now we know that the babe in the ad is actually snockered!

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