Mason County News
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Mostly Memories
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 • Posted March 11, 2009

From Washtubs to Bathtubs to Showers

Bathing is looked upon by some as a social requirement, by others as an absolute necessity while still others see it as a habit persisted in by those who follow precedent and precedent in my term of reference, as you should well know, is a lead goat. However, to get to the feature part of my story on bathing I must start at the beginning.

In our youth we kids did not care to look upon taking a bath as a social requirement whatsoever, for it was in fact something deemed as an absolute necessity by our mother. Because of the precedent followed by others in those days this body cleansing function generally took place on a Saturday night preceding our spiritual cleansing which always took place each Sunday. Thus as time passed this Saturday night bathing became a custom which in turn became a habit.

This old correspondent advised you in an earlier composition that after doing something for thirteen times it would more than likely become a habit. Well now, habits as a general rule are hard to break but this was happening, mind you, back in the days when water had to be heated on the old wood burning cook stove in the kitchen and our bathtub was a No. 3 wash tub. Consequently we kids would have had no trouble breaking this habit had it not been for Mama’s golden rule of “take a bath on Saturday and go to church on Sunday.”

It was probably in 1922 or 23 that Papa installed a metal bathtub in our home and while we still had to heat water on the cook stove we at least had gotten past the No.3 wash tub stage.

Soon after the advent of the bathtub we were introduced to our first shower bath when my two older brothers rigged up an outside shower stall made of old lumber with a canvas cloth doorway cover. With the installation of this high faluten apparatus adjacent to the kitchen porch our entire family enjoyed the luxury of cool showers throughout the summer months.

I suppose it was my aversion to the No. 3 washtub that made me fall in love with our rigged up shower (this being the feature point of this tale - my love affair with the shower). At any rate my disinclination toward bathing disappeared as I began to look forward to those late evening showers where I stayed so long under that cool water that Papa quite often had to call out “Bill, shut that water off and get in bed.” It was with great reluctance that we had to give up that shower and return to the bathtub during the cold weather months.

After leaving our rigged up shower stall in 1927 to move to another house, my bathing habits were confined to the bathtub until 1946 when I bought a new home in San Antonio which had a bath and a half. With that half being adjacent to my bedroom I was able at last to return to my first love - the shower.

During the following years of living in homes as well as apartments it was my good fortune to have a shower available to me and thus it could be said that for some 26 years I did not take a bath. (Ugh - sounds disgraceful doesn’t it?”)

Now we approach the time in my life when as the old song goes: “There’ll be a change in the weather, there’ll be a change in the sea, and from now on there’ll a change in (for) me”. It was in 1972 and just prior to moving into our present home that we had a shower installed in our master bath - nice pretty white tile and all.

Yep, that’s right. t’was in May of 72 that we moved into our new quarters here in Brady and that first evening while preparing for bed I said “Oh boy, I’ll get to try that new shower out in the morning.” It was right then and there that my roommate reached out, grabbed her cat-of-nine tails and shaking that sucker in my face laid down the following ultimatum: “Now listen feller” she says, “if you are going to take showers in this house let it be known here and now that you will be responsible for keeping the tile clean - I refuse to do that job any longer.”

Now she spoke those words, mind you, to a man who had just retired - a man who had just quit work - who had hung up his “Done Working” shingle. Those words riled the tiny bit of Irish blood in me veins and I spake these words “faith and be’gorra, I’ll not be pushed around by a woman!”

So what do you think has happened in the 24 years since those words were spoken from out of my Irish past?

You are just as right as rain: I HAVEN’T HAD A SHOWER IN NIGH ON TO 24 YEARS.

Oh well, what the hell, bathing wasn’t all that bad - for after some thirteen days of this woman type tyranny I had already formed the bathtub habit.


A Bit of History for Global Warmers

Take a look at the following newscast from CNSNews dated August 4, 2006:

“People sweltering from a heat wave in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. might find cold comfort in the fact that the temperatures of the past few days are not the hottest on record. That “honor” belongs to a summer 76 years ago — decades before the controversy over “man-made global warming” began.

“From June 1 to August 31, 1930, 21 days had high temperatures that were 100 degrees or above” in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area. That summer has never been approached, and it’s not going to be approached this year. Between July 19 and Aug. 9 of that year, heat records were set on nine days and they remain unbroken more than three-quarters of a century later.

I find all of the above very interesting because I remember the summer of 1930 as if it was yesterday. I recall visiting my sister at a ranch near Christoval and how hot it was when we made trips into San Angelo.

No air conditioning in those days and when placing your arm on the door sill of a rolled down window it would cook as if it was in an oven . That was the summer that Shorty worked on a nearby ranch and I would ride a horse over to see him and “ride the range” so to speak. We didn’t talk about Global Warming in those days—we just said it’s as hot as hell an put up with it.

That was the hot, hot summer:

When Shorty tried to get me to drink out of a cattle trough when we were out on the range and were thirsty.

That was the summer I learned the use of a lead goat and it was the last summer that I went swimming at Christoval. I remember the fun we had diving from limbs high in the trees that bordered the beautiful Concho River and how the cool water gave us relief from the heat of that long hot summer.

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