By Hita Mohan and Alexandra Touliatos
Artwork by Catherine Ferguson
When the temperatures and the leaves start to fall, there are some things that we all simply cannot live without. Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes, cinnamon rolls, fall scented candles and fall air fresheners are all essential for our perfect fall VSCO girl vibe. As we all revel in the bliss of the fall season, there’s one person who will have a fall experience unlike most others: Neeley Mathes (11). For Mathes and her cinnamon allergy, spooky szn looks different.
After experiencing an allergic reaction in the third grade, Mathes attempted to determine the cause. She began to cut out many foods from her diet such as gluten and dairy. It was not until Mathes’ aunt discovered that she also had a cinnamon allergy that Mathes discovered the dreadful misfortune that would haunt her thereon.
Since she was unsure of what she was allergic to, she continued to eat cinnamon causing her allergy to worsen. Now everyone’s favorite pumpkin spice latte (PSL) could send Mathes into anaphylactic shock. Even Señora Smalley’s famous and very fragrant fall scented air freshener could cause her face to be covered in a rash. Mathes has even had to leave school three times to escape the cinnamon-contaminated food being served.
Another change Mathes has had to make due to this allergy is the location of her locker. In order to flee the cinnamon-flavored coffee creamer that can be smelled in the junior commons, she has relocated her locker into Mrs. Dunlap’s extra cabinet and can often be spotted coming in between classes to exchange her books.
Mathes said her unique and truly one-of-a-kind locker opportunity, “is actually pretty fun. I get to have some nice early morning conversations with [Dunlap], a great way to start my school day.”
Because of the seriousness of Mathes’s allergy, she is constantly on the lookout for products containing cinnamon. She has developed an almost superhuman sense of smell, able to detect even small amounts of cinnamon from great distances. A common misconception is that flying, mind-reading and teleportation are the superior superpowers. Neeley would argue that these powers are far too common and basic and could truly never compare to her keen sense of smell.
Cross-contamination is another major problem for Neeley. Last year, the school made cinnamon-covered apples in the same kitchen as rice-Krispy treats, causing Neeley to forgo the rest of her classes with an unexpected trip home. In fact, she receives a personal text from our beloved Ms. Tori Hill whenever cinnamon is being used in the kitchen.
Mathes explained the strangest part of her allergy: “If somebody eats a cinnamon roll, and a mosquito bites them, and then the same mosquito bites me, the mosquito bite will break out into hives.”
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