An excerpt from my new book “Childhood Memories from the 1940’s – “Man Tan”

Man Tan
That was the name they called this particular tanning lotion, when I was a teenager.
That was my freshman year in high school which was 1957.
My girlfriend, Ann Apicella, and I were going over to her house after school, to spend some time together.
On the way we stopped at the corner drug store to buy something. I can’t remember what, but while we were there I spotted this bottle which said tan without sun.
Well it looked like clear water in the bottle.
I showed it to my friend and between the two of us we had enough money to buy this bottle of Man Tan.
The two of us were really excited to try it.
Now let me give you a little back ground on my friend and myself. Ann was Italian with beautiful olive skin, so she already looked tan, especially next to me.
I am Irish, English with light skin with freckles.
We headed to her house and couldn’t wait to get started with this tanning lotion.
Needless to say we read the directions very quickly and rubbed it on our faces, arms hands, and legs.
It was winter in Connecticut, so we wore long sleeve sweaters and blouses.
We were supposed to see some results within two hours.
While we were waiting we listened to music, did some homework and kept checking our skin.
It wasn’t working, so we kept putting more on until we had used the whole bottle.
Soon it was time for me to go home.
I told Ann that I would call her when I got home and report back any color changes.
When I arrived home I could not see any change.
I called my friend and she confirmed the same.
It looked like we had wasted our money.
I told her I would meet her in the morning at school before we went in to class.
I ate dinner and went to bed.
The next morning upon waking, I looked in the mirror in my bedroom and almost fell over from shock.
I had a tan alright but not the kind of tan you see from the sun.
My face was this really dark orange black color and so were my hands and arms.
All I could think was, oh my God my mother is going to kill me!
I got dressed with a long sleeve shirt and pull over sweater.
I tried to wash it off my face, but that was not happening.
I went into the kitchen and tried to keep my back to my mother so she could not see my face, but as only my mother could do, she said “will you please look at me when I am speaking to you”.
I turned around and before I could even explain, she screamed loudly!
You can only imagine what was said after the shock had passed.
I said maybe I should stay home and not go to school today, and she said,” Oh you are going to school”.
I met my friend at school. She was so dark.
We looked at each other and starting laughing so hard, then our friends started to arrive and started laughing too.
As we passed other kids at school everyone was staring at us.
We both went to our first class, different ones, so we had to go at it alone.
Then, when things were already really uncomfortable, our names were announced over the loud speaker to report to the principal’s office!
Oh God, were in trouble.
The principal was really angry; he asked if we were trying to look like black people?
Needless to say, we were expelled from school until we looked normal again.
My mother scrubbed my face until I thought the skin was going to fall off.
Then she found some cream that lightened it so I could return to school in a couple of days.
My friend took the whole week off.
I can tell you, that was the end of my tanning days without sun.
The plus to the whole thing, was that my friend Ann and I were famous at school.
Everyone knew who we were, and we made a lot of new friends.

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