Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Thursday, June 2, 2016

Not Completely 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 actually 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.

3 comments:

  1. I'm thinking that fifth youngest son should have gone last!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ugh! Your poor mum! I cant imagine having to bathe in pee water. Her brother should have gone last, haha!

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is a boy thing. We shared the bath (to save water and electricity) when I was a child. And my youngest brother (older than me) piddled in the bath. Twice. And then he did have the last bath...

    ReplyDelete

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