See the fax tampon and the almost identical tampon Nunap sold probably about the same time, both probably made of Cellucotton, the component of Kotex.
See other marketing devices: Ad-design contest for menstrual products in the United Kingdom; B-ettes tampon counter-display box and proposal to dealers, with contract; (U.S.A., donated by Procter & Gamble, 2001); "Your Image is Your Fortune!," Modess sales-hints booklet for stores, 1967 (U.S.A., donated by Tambrands, 1997)
See a Modess True or False? ad in The American Girl magazine, January 1947, and actress Carol Lynley in "How Shall I Tell My Daughter" booklet ad (1955) - Modess . . . . because ads (many dates).
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
homepageMUM address & What does MUM mean? | e-mail the museum | privacy on this site | who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! | the art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | asbestos | belts | bidets | founder bio | Bly, Nellie | MUM board | books: menstruation and menopause (and reviews) | cats | company booklets for girls (mostly) directory | contraception and religion | costumes | menstrual cups | cup usage | dispensers | douches, pain, sprays | essay directory | extraction | facts-of-life booklets for girls | famous women in menstrual hygiene ads | FAQ | founder/director biography | gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux | humor | huts | links | masturbation | media coverage of MUM | menarche booklets for girls and parents | miscellaneous | museum future | Norwegian menstruation exhibit | odor | olor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | puberty booklets for girls and parents | religion | Religión y menstruación | your remedies for menstrual discomfort | menstrual products safety | science | Seguridad de productos para la menstruación | shame | slapping, menstrual | sponges | synchrony | tampon directory | early tampons | teen ads directory | tour of the former museum (video) | underpants & panties directory | videos, films directory | Words and expressions about menstruation | Would you stop menstruating if you could? | What did women do about menstruation in the past? | washable pads
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.


Cutting to the chase: Another reason I started the museum

Photos at the bottom of the page

The museum homepage

On March 23 and 1 April, 2007, a neighbor killed two cats and threw them into my (MUM founder Harry Finley's) yard. He injected poison into one, my cat Wix, and cut the throat and opened the stomach of the other, Wix's shy, stray friend. I cried and cried and wore dark glasses in public for weeks. The police and city council and mayor knew this and more, and didn't do anything, and I didn't feel safe. So I've decided to tell you a story from my teenage years in case I don't have the opportunity again. The story sheds light on why I started this museum.

When I was 15 I cut my arms and torso over a hundred times with a razor blade and piece of broken glass (photo at the bottom of this page). In the several months before this I had poured acid down my back and onto my hand - I still have faint scars, decades later - as well as swallowed dozens of aspirins and overdosed on barbiturates more than once. Ashamed, I said strangers cut me.

I was desperately trying to escape a family where I felt trapped by a brother dying from muscular dystrophy, and by his beleaguered caretakers, our parents (photos below). An ironically titled book brilliantly describes this situation: Dr. Jeanne Safer's The Normal One: Life with a Difficult or Damaged Sibling. The Normal One was not-so-normal me. As she writes, Dr. Safer was also - is? - not so normal.

Cutting myself (which required 31 stitches) propelled me out of the family and sophomore year in high school and into the Army's psychiatric ward on Okinawa, the occupied Japanese island where my father was in charge of construction for the U.S. military. After a couple weeks in a locked ward I spent a few more in the Army's locked psychiatric ward in Tokyo (at right). From there I was flown to Hawaii (for only three days, unfortunately) and finished my locked ward career with two months in San Francisco, in the now closed Letterman Army Hospital. After a month I graduated from its locked to, yes, an unlocked ward from which I could visit my mother and little brother, who had moved to San Francisco to be near me.

For the first time in my life I felt free. But it took me decades to somewhat overcome my shyness, the desire to be always agreeable, and my goody-goody-ness, which Safer lists as characteristics of the Normal One: Children don't want to give suffering parents and the sick child even more trouble. Ironically, cutting myself and spending time in a mental institution did just that. Until I opened this museum in my house in 1994 (here) I had never rebelled, a word a museum visitor used but had never occurred to me. She was right. And I still would not have done it had my parents been alive. They would have been horrified. It was not so rebellious an act as it might seem.

In 2011 the New York Times ran an article about borderline personality disorder and a woman, Dr. Marsha Linehan, who has created a new treatment for it - she had the illness herself. It described symptoms that matched mine. I never knew what my diagnosis was but I suspect this was it. I also had and have untreated ADHD, not being able to tolerate the medication.

What was it like in the psychiatric wards? I was always the youngest, surrounded by sick soldiers and their sick spouses. I never felt mistreated. I drew a pencil portrait of a bent-over soldier who had shot himself in the stomach with his rifle (he pulled the trigger with his toe); he drew one of me that turned out to be Mickey Mouse. An old sergeant had delirium tremens. At night I sometimes heard screams from the padded cell of a usually friendly and funny fellow who cycled into and out of sanity. And once at breakfast I remember a woman sitting stiffly, staring straight ahead, with an ear-to-ear scar across her throat. A gay soldier unsuccessfully tried to convince my mother to let me visit him after he was released - he told me (but not my mother!) he had a bed that sloped toward the center. Only later did I realize what that meant; I was naive and anyway not of that persuasion - er, genetic disposition. Looking through that ward's windows I drew scenes of Tokyo and still lifes in the ward in San Francisco, prefiguring my life as an artist. Life wasn't bad.

In the San Francisco hospital I tried to catch up with school by getting geometry and English books out of the hospital's library. I asked my psychiatrist for help with geometry problems. He would stare at the page, puff on his pipe and ask the psychiatric social worker. Both looked baffled by theorems and triangles.

The social worker, an Army lieutenant colonel, once called me into his office and asked, "Do you masturbate?" "No," I said, even though I wasn't sure what that meant. He said, "Ninety-nine out of a hundred boys say they masturbate and the other one's a liar!" He later asked the same question and got mad when I gave him the same answer.

After I got out - the doctors advised against it but I was desperate to be "normal" and not fall back a grade in high school - I returned to school, having missed the first half of my sophomore year but somehow was never required to make it up. The next year I had the highest grades of the junior class - and I had the highest grade in geometry class in the second half of my sophomore year. A couple of years later I was in college. I was on a decades-long difficult trek to recovery.

Above: I drew the view from my bed in Tokyo Army Hospital, in a  locked psychiatric ward, ward 21. I was 15.
Above: In Okinawa's Sukiran Army housing area, Colonel Joyce and his family, one of my father's employees, lived in the house at top center. It was identical to ours; you see our patio wall in the foreground. Houses had to be flat to endure the several typhoons - hurricanes - that thumped the island every year. Okinawa has more people one hundred years old and older per capita than any other "country" in spite of the wind and heat and humidity. (Photo: Harry Finley with a Ricohflex camera my parents gave me for Christmas.)
Above: Eight months after I got out of the hospital and back into school someone, maybe my father, took this picture in our house at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. Jim, my brother with muscular dystrophy, sits at left. He had trouble walking because of the disease. Then you see my older brother, George, Jr.; me; and our mother. My father had a weakness for Currier & Ives prints, on the wall. I have no idea what the Life-Like Landscape Mat was, or why I was squinting (maybe I was anticipating the camera flash). Mom's head was not really that big; she was just 4'11" tall. And the photographer - Pop? - might have had one too many, listing to one side.
Above: Eight years later Jim was much worse and in a wheelchair. Look at his arms. He couldn't straighten his extremities. He would die three years later of a heart attack while my father was giving him a bath, at 21, an age at death typical for Duchenne muscular dystrophy sufferers. My mother, second from right, followed him five years later, from grief. A doctor told her she had passed the faulty muscular dystrophy gene to her son, as in "It's your fault." That's my brother George, Jr., second from left (he had the ability to rotate his pupils to face his brain but stopped doing it when they got stuck more than once; I'm just kidding); me; and my father - Pop - at far right. The picture shows a room in our house in Satellite Beach, Florida, when Pop was in charge of construction at the Cape Canaveral launch site for NASA. Jim was intelligent, funny, and seemed cheerful to the end. I never talked about his illness with him - isn't that incredible? - and I doubt that my brother had. (Photographer was probably a high school student we hired a few hours each week to keep Jim company.)
Above: These cuts and others - my other arm looks like this as well as my sides -  landed me a three months' stay in four hospitals and ruined Pop's Army career. He had to give up his best job to accompany his family back to the States. This is how my left arm looked in 2007. I was so ashamed of having cut myself that I told the doctors and my family that some unknown person had done it. But the direction of the cuts told them it was me. After I left the hospital my family and I almost never discussed the incident or its cause. It was a hard subject to bring up. (Photo: Harry Finley)
Go to a short bio or see some of my art (and my art site) and the former museum in my house. Cats of this museum and feline felicities.

© 2015 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute
work on this Web site in any manner or medium without
written permission of the author. Please report suspected
violations to