In the early 1960s, you could buy artificial tanning solution called Miss Mantan. It was a moisturizing foundation that was supposed to make your skin look as if you’d been out in the sun and acquired, as the advertising put it, a “glow that won’t rub off.”
As a young teen, my mom, wanting to impress a boy she liked, picked some up at a drugstore. When she got home, she smeared it on her arms and legs. Sometime later, Mom discovered, to her horror, that the tanning solution had dried unevenly. Streaks of orange went up and down her lily-white skin.
When Mom’s sister Birdie saw her older sibling’s unfortunate dilemma, she remarked, “It looks like you’ve got jaundice!” After that, Mom’s brothers and sisters teased her without mercy.
For the following few days, Mom dressed in long skirts, knee-high socks and turtleneck sweaters. One day another student wearing the same getup stopped her in the hallway. The classmate said to Mom, “I see you’ve been using Miss Mantan, too.”
Carl G. White • Napa, California