Childhood Memories Friday: Measles, Mumps, and Chicken Pox

Childhood Memories Friday

1970s mumps

Measles, Mumps, and Chicken Pox — they’re practically extinct in childhood today. But back in the 1960s and 1970s, I had all three. Here’s a photo of me in 1970 as a 5-year-old, and as you can see from Mom’s typing, I had the mumps. However, I don’t look like I’m suffering too much.

It always seemed odd to me that I got all of these, despite having gotten shots. A look at my baby book makes things a little more confusing. I did get measles shots, twice, prior to actually getting the illness. I also got “4 in 1” shots, 6 times no less, and I really don’t know what those even covered. Despite all these shots, the number still looks quite a bit smaller than what my own kids got. Let’s hope vaccines have improved. They must have, at least in some ways, because my own three girls never got measles, or mumps, or chicken pox.

Looking again at the baby book, I see that with mumps I felt bad for “1 1/2 days but felt peppy after that.” I honestly don’t remember having them (although I do remember the bear I’m holding in that photo, and quart boxes of strawberries were a staple of my childhood; both eating them and picking them).

I got “old fashion measles” (is there a modern measles?) and missed a week of kindergarten with that. I do remember missing the week of school, which seemed near the end of the year (looking in the book, yep, it was in late April). Mom wrote that I never was very sick, so I probably stayed home more to avoid infecting my classmates.

Chicken pox arrived when I was 6, and again I “never seemed feverish or ill.”

How about you? Did you ever have measles, mumps, and chicken pox?

6 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Measles, Mumps, and Chicken Pox

  1. There are the old fashioned measles and then a three day measles. The first is far worse. You got chicken pox and it was no big deal. Jill was a baby at the time, sleeping in the baby crib. She caught them from you and she had them just horribly! I still remember it was so hard to even pick her up from the baby bed because they were EVERYWHERE on her. I think I put her in the bathtub with some common item added to the water to try to help her. From that experience I had the theory the first child gets them mild and they pick up intensity as they roll through the family. Could anybody else comment on my theory. How did it work in your family? I think it was old fashioned measles that a pregnant Seymour mother got and when her son was born, he was severely affected.

  2. I had chicken pox, but not mumps. I’m told I had measles but don’t remember it. Funny thing was with my first pregnancy, I guess one of the things they do blood work on is to see if I was immune to measles, dangerous to an unborn child. It showed I wasn’t, and I was told to stay away from anyone with spots. I don’t know if what I had wasn’t really measles or what – seems like I would have been vaccinated, but I don’t have those records. I did have to get the vaccine after my oldest was born.

  3. I only had chicken pox, BUT I didn’t get them until I was 23! It was horrible. I was still in college and had to get a medication that accelerated the virus. Luckily, I didn’t infect my fellow classmates and I was able to finish the semester.

  4. Yes – I was nearly 30 when I had chicken pox – it was the sickest I have ever been in my life! I was absolutely miserable! And the poor Boy had to get himself off to school in the mornings for a few days because I was so ill. He was such a trooper about it. But wow, I was sick.

  5. I’ve had all three. But that doesn’t surprise me, because in my day, we weren’t vaccinated against them. The vaccinations were not yet invented. (Polio vaccine was invented when I was about in the fourth grade. We all got the vaccinations at school. Wonder why we would have been vaccinated there?)

  6. I also had all three as a child. Was very sick with all of them. My older daughter had a very heavy case of chicken pox (no vaccination for that yet) and gave them to her younger sister who also had a heavy case. They were everywhere on both girls!! Now, you’d think that would be the end of chicken pox, right? Wrong. Older daughter has had them several times but each time it’s a lighter case. One doctor told me he had never heard of someone who keeps getting them. The rest of the doctors just shake their heads and diagnose chicken pox again. Second daughter had them only one time.

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