C is for Calamine Lotion

3 Apr

a-to-z-letters-c-1Yes, that pink, icky stuff that you dab on your skin with cotton wool to stop the needless itching/scratching from a myriad of mosquito bites or other bugs. Of course, if you grew up in my house you weren’t allowed to say something “itched.” ‘It doesn’t itch, it irritates,’ my mother would say. And people wonder why I grew up to be a wordsmith!

Itch, irritate, whatever. What I can say is that even when I see calamine lotion to this day (I have some in my bathroom cabinet), it takes me immediately back to my childhood. There is something inherently soothing – not just for the bites – about that brown bottle and its pale, rose-coloured contents. The sticky cotton wool tendrils that would stick to your arms and legs but take away the hurt at the same time. It was the instant equivalent of a warm, fluffy, pink, cloud-like embrace.

I still associate calamine lotion with warm, fuzzy feelings, tender, cotton-wool embraces and an unwritten promise that the itching/irritation/pain/hurt/anxiety – real and/or imagined – will eventually fade away and leave just the faintest of scars to remind you that the bad things won’t last forever.


I still love calamine lotion today. Of course it’s not the same as a human embrace but it’s good to know that when things start to itch (or irritate – sorry Mum), and a human hug isn’t readily available, I can always open my bathroom cabinet and be calmed by the Calamine.


15 Responses to “C is for Calamine Lotion”

  1. Faye North April 3, 2013 at +00:00WedUTC #

    What a great ode to calamine lotion – makes me wish I had an itch!

    • Kelly April 3, 2013 at +00:00WedUTC #

      It doesn’t itch – it irritates! 🙂

  2. Tonette dela Luna April 3, 2013 at +00:00WedUTC #

    You just took me back to 1987. Funny how a single detail can trigger memories long forgotten.

  3. dmacsf April 3, 2013 at +00:00WedUTC #

    Very true — cortisone anti-itch ointment may work fine, but calamine lotion is nostalgia in a bottle! 😀

  4. Jer April 3, 2013 at +00:00WedUTC #

    Ha ha! When a certain someone would ask me if I could “itch their back,” I’d say “No, but I’ll scratch it for you.”

  5. Mommy's Angel In Heaven April 3, 2013 at +00:00WedUTC #

    This was a very cute post about the letter C today. My husband and I are raising our niece and nephew. One day I noticed all this pink stuff painted on (my mind’s drawing a blank on what the item was) something like a piece of paper. It was kind of hard and crusty. I found the evidence behind this bookshelf on our window sill. I found out that my newphew decided the Calamine lotion was paint and he had a grand old time. Just thought I’d share my own memory, from recent days of course, with you. 🙂

    Kristena Tunstall
    Dedication Website to daughter in heaven:

    • Kelly April 4, 2013 at +00:00ThuUTC #

      That’s fantastic! Painting with Calamine. Clearly you have a creative nephew. Hopefully it’s water based and washed right off!

      • Mommy's Angel In Heaven April 5, 2013 at +00:00FriUTC #

        It was thank goodness. He was just having fun. I have to laugh at the memory now.

  6. jesstopper April 4, 2013 at +00:00ThuUTC #

    Ah yes, fond memories of summer camp with calamine lotion! I think you are doing great for winging it in the A to Z. I had no theme last year and it was very freeing (yes, even when I got to that dreaded letter X) – best of luck from a fellow A to Zer and WFWAer!

    • Kelly April 4, 2013 at +00:00ThuUTC #

      Thanks so much. It’s 3:13 p.m. and don’t know what D is going to be yet but I’ve got a few hours to go!

  7. Kate April 4, 2013 at +00:00ThuUTC #

    I can still totally picture the old, brown bottle of calamine lotion that we used to have when I was a kid. I can even picture where it was in the hall closet. Thanks for the memory inspiring post!

    • Kelly April 4, 2013 at +00:00ThuUTC #

      Thanks for sharing. It really was a beloved childhood product that crossed continents! I didn’t grow up in the US but it appears it was and still is ubiquitous.

  8. stephscottil April 4, 2013 at +00:00ThuUTC #

    Your description took me right back to childhood too! I remember getting in the car once and my mother took one look at my splotchy calamined legs and told me to go inside and either wipe down my legs or put pants on. Embarrassing!!

    • Kelly April 4, 2013 at +00:00ThuUTC #

      I know! I was always wont to slather myself in the stuff. Went totally overboard. It felt great for about 5 minutes till it all went dry and sticky!

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