I have been reading through your thread here and the discussion about public baths brought back one of the most vivid memories from my childhood. I want to say that it is a wonderful memory but at the time it seemed so vexing , so crude but yes it was wonderful in a utilitarian sort of way.
I am not sure of how many folks here will realize what I am talking about when I use the term "Laundry Pot" but that’s what they were, I still have two of them on the farm that I use to plant mandrake(Mandragora officinarum) in, thus the cast iron helps the soil neutralize the acids a little better which gives the mandrake the idea thate he is at home in the Mediterranean which is his native soil.
However my cousins and I used to go to my Aunt Margie's farm in Pembroke, KY for just a few weeks during the summer between Lughnasadh and Mabon(Harvest Season). Pembroke, KY is where The Jefferson Davis monument is, thus it is also hearsay that Rainey Bethea, the last fellow to be hanged in public, in Kentucky robbed Sydney Latham and tore out one of his eyes but like I said that is just hearsay. Mr. Latham would have been my Thrice-Great Uncle but he was long gone before I poked my head out.
Anyhow Aunt Margie had no running water like so many people in rural Western-Ky back then (now this is only about forty years ago). So she liked to perform her "Cook-em-N-Clean-em-Routine" on any kids that were staying in the main house and I am surprised she did not have a Basic patent on it because it worked so well.
She would fill her sixty gallon Cast Iron "Laundry Pot" about six inches from the top with fresh water from the sweet well and start a small hardwood fire underneath it followed with some coke to make sure it would last a while. After stripping everyone of us boys down butt naked to nothing but a sheet she would send our clothes off with my very pretty but very boyish 2nd cousin, who was only three or four years older than us but she got to watch anyway and giggled the whole time making very creepy remarks for a ten year old.
The three of us would draw straws to see who got to go second because seconds meant the water was not too hot and not too cold especially depending on the weather outside. The straw outcome never mattered simply because Margie usually just grabbed the cleanest one first so the water wouldn’t get too dirty too fast. Then the scrubbing came - ears, underarms, belly, feet, face, rear-end and not in that order. I mean you would have thought we were a freshly bled sow getting de-haired or rendering the lard of the arse-end. After the "bath"
I hated those bathing sessions but I know now that everything she did for/too us was for Love though it seemed pretty harsh sometimes. As soon as I post this to Lisa' thread I am going to give my aunt a call. I see her a few times a month though we rarely get to talk directly and never sentimentally.
Edited by Mongrel (03/02/12 10:18 PM)
Edit Reason: Instead of Twice-Great it was Thrice-Great
"Nowadays, people know the price of everything, and the value of nothing." - Oscar Wilde