Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Drug Bust

I attended yet another incredible estate sale this past weekend from The Gibson Girls auction company - these are by far the best I've ever seen!  They're always so nicely arranged and organized by room, and I never leave empty-handed (unfortunate for my wallet, great for me!).

This past auction took place at the late couple's residence, a wooded lot close to Lake Michigan.  The house was one of those great mid-century homes with the huge sunken living room and countertop stove in the kitchen.  I instantly felt at home there.  The hosta/fern garden out back was incredible, too!  So much work and time had been put into this amazing backyard retreat - I only hope that the new owners cherish it as much as they did.

From what the auction ladies told us, the husband was a pharmacist and the wife was a realtor.  There was one whole corner of the foyer devoted to pharmacy labels - boxes and boxes of them.  I got that "I'm on crack" feeling - until I opened the boxes.  Unfortunately, time and moisture had taken their toll on the fragile labels - some of the boxes were FULL, but had been reduced to one giant label brick.  I thought maybe a gentle prying would do the trick; alas, these babies were stuck together for all eternity.  There was one box that I found, however, that somehow remained relatively unscathed - an amazing box of "Poison"/skull & crossbones labels!  I snagged that box up and held on tight.  And hey - it was only four bucks!

Which brings me to my topic for today (finally!) - pharmaciana!  My sister's husband Mike is a pharmacist, although his job is far different than a pharmacist's of 50-100 years ago.  Mike doesn't have to play chemist at his job - the drug companies take care of that now, probably because of druggists like Mr. Gower from "It's a Wonderful Life" - we can't have drunk pharmacists filling prescriptions, now can we?  :D  But check out this prescription from Algoma Drug (about 100 miles from Fond du Lac) - it's from 1899!  I love that I have in my possession a 111 year-old piece of pharmacological history.  Just think of how different things were at the turn of the twentieth century -  I mean, there weren't even autos yet - not in our part of the country, anyway!

And what do you suppose "Tincture of Rhubarb" did for you, besides taste awful? (I just found out - it acts as a mild laxative.  I should've known.).

There will always be a need for pharmacists, but it'll be interesting to see how their job will change.  From chemist, to counselor, to practitioner - that seems to be how it's going.  Mike has to dole out vaccines now - that's new.  The way our healthcare is changing in the US, pretty soon pharmacists will be the new "country doctors" - taking temperatures, recording vital stats, etc. - all those things that would cost you $300 just for setting foot in a doctor's office these days. 

Now, I won't be cutting up that Algoma Drug scrip EVER, but I do like to use pharmacy labels and artefacts in my artwork:


  1. AWESOME! What a great find.

  2. Can I commission a small collage based on Tincture of Rhubarb? I can find you through Pam K.

  3. HI CP,

    Oh my! Yes, of course - I would love to talk to you about that! :D

  4. I'm a whole bunch of places, CP! :D

    My Etsy has my pendants and stuff ( but my Flickr has all of my collages, so you can see my more "abstract" work:

    I look forward to talking with you! :D