It seemed to me that people were always trying to get me to eat stuff, stuff I didn't like. I was stressed out and not too cooperative. Things were bad enough at home around mealtime and sheer hell if we went to visit a relative or a friend.
"Here little Danny, try this calf liver. It'll make you grow."
"Boy, if you eat this chicken gizzard it'll make you strong as Superman."
"Danny, you ain't nothin' but skin and bones, boy. You need to eat some of Aunt Lellye's turnip greens. They cooked with all that good fat back flavor. At least let me put some of this pot liquor on some cornbread for you."
I liked milk, bologna sandwiches with mustard, Coca Cola, Pep cereal, buttered toast, and my morning coffee. Not much else.
But the pressure from my family to eat other things kept me on edge. I felt tired a lot, and I dragged around the house or yard, not really playing with the same energy I had when I was five. At night, I tossed and turned in my bed and didn't sleep too well.
By the time I was eight or nine we had moved to East Nashville. In order to put a little pep in my step, my mother, who had seen all the ads for this new miracle patent medicine (that's an OTC drug for you whippersnappers who might be reading this), started giving me three or four doses of the medicine every day. The dose was a tablespoon full in a half of glass of water. It tasted absolutely foul. But...
Man, I loved this stuff. First of all, I felt relaxed. All of the tension I felt about food just kind of melted away. I didn't eat any more than usual, but I did have more energy, more pep. And I slept like a baby at night.
I was one happy camper and my Mother thought it was a miracle.
And then one day in the summer of 1949 my world came crashing down. I was out in the dirt road in front of our house, pretending to be Nashville Vols home run hitting catcher Carl Sawatski, hitting rocks with an old baseball bat when the mailman came. It was a letter from my Uncle Sid to my Mother. She had written and told him about this new miracle drug I was taking. It was called Hadacol.
In 1948-49 my Uncle Sid, a WWII Marine Corsair pilot, was by then teaching in the biochemistry department at the University of Mississippi. He told Mother to stop giving me Hadacol. He said it had some B vitamins in it, but also had a 12% alcohol content.
No wonder I felt so relaxed all the time. No wonder I slept like a baby.
I only took the stuff for about three months. It's a good thing. I coulda become a hadacolaholic.
some pharmacies in dry counties were known to sell it by the shot-glass and at least one bar in New Orleans' French Quarterwas known to sell a "Tassel Cocktail" with Hadacol as an ingredient. In Northbrook, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, sales of Hadacol were limited to liquor stores.
Guess where this stuff came from--down there where blogger Andy resides, in the great state of Louisiana. Hadacol was concocted by State Senator Dudley J. Le Blanc, a super salesman if there ever was one. He enlisted the services of a diverse body of entertainers from Hank Williams to Judy Garland to sell this snake oil. Read the whole story of Hadacol at Wiki.
Le Blanc was on the Groucho Marx show once and Groucho asked him about Hadacol. "What's this stuff good for?" Le Blanc didn't miss a beat and said, "About $5 million at this point."
I've had a cold for the past few days which I'm about over now, but earlier this week, I started thinking, man, I could use some of that old Hadacol long about now.
Scooney sent me an email with some good advice about a mixture of honey and lemon, but he also said he once used some Harvey's Bristol Cream to help him get rid of a cough. I think it has the same main ingredient as Hadacol. Heh.
I'm all growed up now. Actually, I'm way past "all growed up." I'm 6' 2" and weigh about 200. My wife and friends will tell you that I will eat just about anything. Anything at all. I love to eat. I wonder if it's because of all that pressure my family put on me. Or is it because I once took Hadacol?
There were even songs written and recorded about this great miracle elixir. This one's called "Everybody Loves Hadacol," and it's by the Basin Street Six.