*Taking My Medicine*
Nolan Bailey, Class of 1957
As a kid in the 1940's I hated washing the dishes, and that was one of
my family’s mandatory chores. Back then, a kid had to do chores to get
the “big money,” like twenty-five cents a month. Why, a kid could go to
Morgan and Lindsey’s Five and Dime store on the last Saturday of the
month, buy a Blackhawk and Batman comic book, and still have a /whole/
nickel left over for a Coca Cola. Back then, folks called ‘em whole
nickels and whole dimes. I guess that a whole nickel meant that you had
a single nickel coin instead of five pennies. We kids could hardly wait
to buy the latest comic book, and I would always make the mistake of
trying to read mine while riding back home on the gravel road, getting
“car sick.” Wonder how I ever became a USAF pilot with this history of
There were five children in my family, and we had to take turns on dish
duty. I hated washing dishes so much that I’d even do homework instead
of getting dishpan hands. I was desperate and always had a new reason
that I couldn’t do the dishes on my assigned day at the pan.
However, one day I really did feel sick and told my mother that I needed
some “medicine.” Of course, she asked what was wrong. I told her I had
a bad headache and just felt bad “all over.” Using the standard rural
medicinal techniques of the time, feeling the forehead, she diagnosed me
as having a slight fever. She dug around in the kitchen cabinets until
she found a bottle of Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic. Then, she shook it
up and made me take a couple of tablespoons of the wondrous elixir.
Tasteless? Not on your life! It tasted really bad. In fact, it tasted
so bad that I immediately became nauseated, ran out of the kitchen to
the back porch, and regurgitated. Mom gave me a couple of whacks with
the family peach tree switch for acting. And, she decided to give me
another dose since I’d lost the first. I “cut up” so much about the
taste that she decided to prove me wrong. She make a big mistake.
Mother said, ”I’ll show you, I’ll just take some of the medicine.” I’m
still smiling after all these many years. As soon as mother took a
spoonful of the medicine, she headed for the back porch, too.
Groves Tasteless Chill Tonic used a “laughing baby” as a trademark on an
orange box. But, it was no laughing matter. The ingredients in the
tonic were not soluble and were suspended as tiny crystalline flakes in
a /non-alcoholic/ syrup. It was not like Dr. Tichenor’s antiseptic of
the time, which was 70% alcohol. Lots of folks had continual colds in
the 1940’s and 1950’s, when most of Louisiana was dry.
Dr. George Tichenor developed his antiseptic formula in Mississippi, and
after the Civil War practiced medicine in Baton Rouge from 1869-1887. I
can still remember the sounds of Dr. Tichenor’s jingle being played on
the old radio from my childhood. Someone with a Cajun accent sang, “
Dat good’ ol Doctor Tichenor’s, best antiseptic in town. Just rinse
your mouth wit Tichenor’s, and those little germs go down. “ Dr.
Tichenor's antiseptic was lots better than a dose of tasteless chill
Anyhow, written on the bottom of the Grove’s box was “An excellent
remedy for coughs and colds. Relieves the cough and also the feverish
conditions and headache, which are usually associated with colds.” It
was advertised as being /tasteless /quinine in a non-alcoholic
solution. But, the tasteless billing was not true. And, I’m not sure
that Mom’s bottle hadn’t been sitting on the shelf for a few months too
**Mom was apologetic and remorseful about giving me a switching and
making me take the “medicine.” And, I got to gloat about her big
mistake for a few weeks. Still do. Kids do win once in a while.
RE: Dr. Tichenor & Dr. Tichenor's Antiseptic
My parents lived in New Orleans from 1936-39 while my Father was in Tulane Law School. Brother Richard was there from age 2-5. The family lived on a 2nd floor apartment above Dr. Tichenor's office. Richard remembers Mrs. Tichenor but says perhaps Dr. Tichenor was deceased by that time since he cannot recall him. Yes, there really was a Dr. Tichenor.
Tichenor was born in Ohio County in western Kentucky to Rolla Tichenor and the former Elizabeth Hymphrey. He was educated in private schools. He was a businessman in Franklin (Williamson County), Tennessee when the American Civil War began. He entered military service in 1861 with the 22nd Tennessee Cavalry Regiment. He became an enrolling Confederate officer in 1863, and thereafter an assistant surgeon, during which time he was believed to have been the first in the Confederacy to have used antiseptic surgery.Tichenor experimented with the use of alcohol as an antiseptic on wounds. He was badly wounded in the leg in 1863, and amputation was recommended. He insisted on treating his wounds with an alcohol-based solution of his own devising. His wound healed, and he regained the use of his leg.His potential reputation as a humanitarian was clouded by his fierce regional loyalty; Tichenor insisted that his techniques be used only on injured Confederates, never on Union prisoners.
1895 advertisement for Dr. Tichenor's Antiseptic
Tichenor developed his antiseptic formula in Canton and thereafter practiced medicine in Baton Rouge, LA from 1869-1887. He started bottling Dr. Tichenor's Patent Medicine in New Orleans; the formula, consisting of alcohol, oil of peppermint, and arnica, was originally marketed as useful for a wide variety of complaints for both internal and external use for man and animal. A patent was registered in 1882 . The company producing this liquid was incorporated in 1905 and is still in existence, though the recommended uses are now more modest: principally as a mouthwash and topical antiseptic.Tichenor married the former Margaret A. Drane of Kentucky while they were in Canton. They had three sons: Rolla A. Tichenor, George H. Tichenor, Jr., and Elmore Drane Tichenor. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge and the Baptist Church. He was adjutant general and commander of the Louisiana division of the United Confederate Veterans. He is interred in Baton Rouge.
"George Humphrey Tichenor", A
Submitted by Billy Hathorn, Class of 1966