You know how some people have ointment tubes and medicine jars in their bathroom cabinets that have been there for decades? You can tell by the package design that the item hails from a time when nurses still wore white dresses and cute, triangular hats. The metal lid has rust around the edge. The cream inside has solidified. Yet they don't throw it out. Resting in the shadows between Q-tips and corn pads, it has taken on the gravitas of a family motif, a fixed indicator of their collective identity and medical history. The children in the family have grown accustomed to bumping into that crusted old bottle of Doan's Pill's whenever they retrieve a Band-aid. Years later, the sight of Doans Pill's will trigger a wave of nostalgia for them.
I don't have any over-the-counter relics gathering dust and significance in my bathroom cabinet. The closest I can come is this little green tin of Doctor Burt's skin ointment. I have had it for probably 7 years --more than half the kids' lives. Annabelle asks for it from time to time, when she has bug bites. "Where is that green container with the man on it?"she says. Perhaps years from now the scruffy visage on this tin will be one that hurtles her back into the dimlit corridor of some childhood memory.