Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bathed. But Clean?

Okay, there are only six here. But you get the picture . . .
Mom is third from the left.

Bath time has changed over the past century.
Really.
The concept of indoor plumbing is really very recent.
In my mother's day, running water in the house meant that some enterprising and resourceful person had built the house over the well.
And designed the kitchen so that the sink was situated perfectly to accommodate the pump.
Right where the water was needed.
Clear and cold.
Directly from the ground.
Heating it to a decent temperature for such things as cooking and cleaning was a whole other process.
So . . . bath time.
I should mention, here, that I wasn't present for any of this.
I'm telling it as my mom told me.
Every Saturday night, Gramma Berg would pull out the large tub and set it in the middle of the kitchen floor.
Then painstakingly fill it bucket by bucket.
She had nine children, eight boys and my mom, to scrub.
And one tub to do it in.
The youngest went in first.
Then the second youngest.
Third.
Fourth.
All went well to this point.
Though the water was getting a bit . . . soapy.
But that is where her system inevitably broke down.
The fifth youngest son always exhibited the same reaction to stepping into warm water.
He peed.
In the water.
Every time.
And my Mom, who stood next in line would get a little . . . perturbed.
Gramma always tried to soothe her only daughter by pointing out that the water was mostly clean and soapy. And that Mom would get a good rinse with clean water.
But Mom was only slightly mollified (real word.)
I often wondered why, in my time, my mother so enjoyed her baths.
I didn't have to go back very far to find out.


14 comments:

  1. Oh yuck...pee water. We had a galvanized water trough that sat on newspapers in mom and dads bedroom. Water heated on the wood stove and poured into the tub. Fresh for each person. Mom was a bear for punishment. Everybody had their own bath night. There was only three of us. By the time they adopted another child they had installed the indoor plumbing. A real bath tub.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your own bath night? Your mom was a saint! I guess that wouldn't have worked for my Mom's family, though. Not enough days in a week! :)

      Delete
  2. Oh poor Mom
    The solution was simple though They should have put him in last lol
    Then he would learn to stop peeing lol
    I knew some kids peed in their bed till they were twelve years old. They go into deep sleep and forget they are in bed.lol
    Oh well .You have some nice memories about Mr Pee Man. lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if they finally figured that out. Putting him last, I mean. Mom never said. I guess she was too traumatized by him going (and I do mean going) just ahead of her!

      Delete
  3. Oh, my stomach just turned over for her. I'll bet she had a tub of her own high on her priority list. I had one cousin with a pump in the kitchen sink and one with the pump just outside the back door. I thought the latter very impressive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! A two pump family! First time I've heard of that. That WAS impressive!

      Delete
  4. Thank heaven for indoor plumbing! I'd be lost without it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Best invention ever! I place it even above electricity!

      Delete
  5. This brought a huge smile. My mother told a similar story. By the way at least pee doesn't normally have bacteria; if that is any comfort.
    I always enjoy your thoughts and this was a cute one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, LeAnn! I wish I could reassure her now! :)

      Delete
  6. It sounds like my father's family. Not only did the 8 brothers share the bath water, they also shared just two beds!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! Two beds! You'd have to be synchronized to roll over! My husby and I share a gi-normous king size bed. It's the size of our first home. We sometimes lose each other . . .

      Delete
  7. I love indoor plumbing and baths. Your poor Mom:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. Totally in indoor plumbing girl myself! Don't think I would have survived!

      Delete

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