Friday, June 6, 2008

Article #8 Saturday Night Baths

I still remember taking a Saturday night bath in Grandma’s kitchen when I was a young child. A galvanized tin tub size #3 was placed on the floor next to the wood stove where the cold water was heated for my bath. Warm water was poured into the small tub in her cozy kitchen. In earlier days, Grandma would bathe her children in this same tub, the girls first then the boys who were the dirtiest. More hot water was added to the tub as the baths progressed. In summer, a visit to the old swimming hole could replace the Saturday night bath ritual. 

Grandma did have a wash basin with plumbed water in the kitchen, but no hot water. All water had to heated summer or winter on the stove in a teakettle or other pan before washing your face, hands or shaving. All wastewater had to be carried by hand outside to be emptied, as there were no drains or septic tanks. Grandma was delighted with her first indoor shower with hot water when she moved from Silver City. Imagine that––hot water out of a pipe and you didn’t need to heat the water first on the stove or carry it out to dump afterwards. That was done by an electric water heater, and certainly simplified washing clothes for her.

Laundry day was on Monday, It was an all day affair. Water had to be heated, then clothes were soaked and scrubbed manually in the soapy water, rung through a manual ringer into a different laundry tub to be rinsed. Finally all the wet clothes were wrung out again, and lugged outside to be hung on clotheslines with clothes pins. In wintertime, the clothes would probably freeze and had to be thawed before they could be ironed by a flat iron heated on the wood or coal stove. Each week this same ritual was repeated. Some clothes needed to be starched or bleached white which added even more work. 

Then there was the matter of heating her house. First, Grandma had an old wood/coal kitchen stove for heating and cooking in the kitchen. It was supplemented by a wood/coal stove in the living room. She never enjoyed the luxury of an oil or gas furnace with a thermostat to control the temperature and ducts to bring the heat to each room. What would they think of next? 

8 comments:

gremhog susan.hatch@gmail.com said...

bath in a tub in front of a stove...just how old are you? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. My grandparents even had TV. Today I have decided to not be old, cuz you are! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahha still laughing here in OHIO

Lin said...

It's true, the year was probably 1945ish, my grandma lived in a rural utah silver city (near eureka) which is now a ghost town and I remember my bath by her wood stove as a young child and the chamber pot under the bed...

We all are getting older my dear susi q although you are a few years younger than me. my grandma never had a tv. she was born in 1890 and died in 1975. By that time she had a tub and a hot water heater.

Lin said...

ps oops, she died in 1965.

aliannetee said...

My mother's father was also born in 1890. I am certainly thankful to have all the modern conveniences of today.

Musings said...

Wow! Thanks for the memories! Life was sure a lot more work for our grandparents! It certainly makes you appreciate what we've got!

nedo said...

Mom, how sweet of a memory, I am touched.. I wish I had nice memories of my grand parents..but I did not know them much.. you are lucky..
hugs..

Linda Reeder said...

I lived in rural Oregon, and in about the same era, I was born in 1944, I took a Saturday night bath in our enamel tub behind the wood stove in our house, not my grandmothers! We had a two seater outhouse which my sisters and I visited together, in winter in the dark of the night. We finally got indoor plumbing when I was five or six. We can't imagine living like that now, but some folks still do.

mom/caryn said...

Ouch! I felt like a sissie reading a few blogs back... but, I didn't feel bad about being a sissie. Now, I'm starting to feel really spoiled. Although I do remember running our clothes through the old ringer washer and haging them all outside. I grew up in sunny Southern California, though, so I don't ever remember the clothes freezing. I do remember their getting wetter the longer they hung on the clothesline during some of our surprise monsoon like rains, however.