- Family and Parenting
No Hot Water in Those Days
Bathtime at Grandma's
Tomorrow is Thursday. Writing our Memories day. After I wrote the Bubble Gum Bath experience, I remembered how different it was during vacations at grandma and grandad's on the other coast. They lived in Fort Pierce, where my grandad's family had homesteaded in 1886. Same as the other bathtime, I was about 7 or 8, but it was a whole different procedure at grandma's. There was a big white clawfoot tub in the bathroom, but all the hot water was first heated in a big pot on the kerosene stove in the kitchen, then hauled to the bathroom, through the back porch, by my grandad. You waited until he'd finished pouring it before you got in, and boy, was it hot! You ran some cold water from the tub spigot into the tub until you could stand to get in.
At that time we had an artesian well for water; it smelled like rotten eggs so that was part of the bathtime smell. You got used to it. But you never wanted to drink it! So we had a big wooden cradle with a large glass water bottle in it that sat on the porch just outside the kitchen. A man came and delivered a full jug and took away your empty one about once a week. You unstoppered the bottle, that is, took out the big cork, and tipped the jug over just far enough to fill your glass or the teakettle.
Our other sources of water were rain barrels that sat outside under the gutters. The gutters ran from the roof down the side of the house and ended in the rain barrel. Each big black barrel had a lid that hinged in the middle. When you wanted water to wash your hair, you turned back the half lid and dipped a pot in to get that clean water. Grandma would warm it on the stove and then wash your hair while you leaned over the sink. Your hair came out all soft and silky.