Enema Ads in 1920
by Kristina Amelong
It is December 18th, 1920. Imagine sitting in a well-worn armchair next to a wood-burning stove, snow just beginning to fall outside the window. On your lap is a Saturday Evening Post, America’s most influential and beloved magazine. You spent a nickel to secure your copy.
First, you admire the fine artwork by Ruth Eastman - a woman donning a red hat made of feathers, looking down at her watch, ice skates tucked under her left arm. Yes, the Norman Rockwell illustration of the boy pushing the baby carriage while being teased by two other boys in red and white baseball caps was your favorite, but the reds in her hat and on her cheeks and the grace of her fingers and gaze were admirable.
Instead of lifting the cover to view the table of contents, your thumb slips into the center pages of the magazine, igniting your imagination with the potential for a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. You had loved Bernice Bobs Her Hair in the May issue of the magazine. After all, it was about a girl from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, who sneaks into her cousin Marjorie’s room and cuts off her pigtails, throwing them onto the porch of a boy. You were also hoping for an article on prohibition, a new serial, or more pictures of the Essex automobile, an affordably priced enclosed passenger car you were hoping to soon own.
When you open the magazine, however, you find more of the color red: a full-sized ad from the Faultless Rubber Company. You recognize the familiar fountain syringe because you have seen it in your neighbor’s bathrooms, but you have never "cleaned" your body. Yet, you have been feeling a bit run down lately, so you read the ad:
"Because keeping the body clean inside will prevent much of the sickness in every home..."
"Protects the health of all the family from Baby to Baby’s grandparents..."
"Known from one end of the country to the other for the splendid satisfaction it gives its users..."
You make a note to pick one up at the druggist the next time you are in town. You
turn the page, eagerly beginning Lizard by Rita Weiman.