Bath Towels and Shower Stalls

18 Jan

There was a segment on one of the morning TV shows recently about how often you should shower and wash your towels. The answers probably scandalized most folks who grew up in the 1950s. They suggested a towel and a shower every day, and one woman said she took two showers a day. She had one in the morning to wake her up, and then she “just couldn’t sleep” if she went to bed without showering again. Now, that makes no sense at all. How can the same process have two completely opposite effects?

My mother must have been spinning in her grave.

Summer and winter, we took three baths a week. Saturday night, so we’d be clean for church, Tuesday and Thursday. You didn’t sweat in the winter and you weren’t in school in the summer for people to complain if you smelled funky.  Both the house where we lived until I was 10 and the place where my folks lived until my dad was called to Cleveland had showers, but I don’t think they were ever used. Certainly my sister and I never had a shower, and I don’t think my mom did, either. Always a bath. Even when I was away at school, I always opted for a bath, although showers were available. My mother insisted “a woman has to soak”.

I became a “young lady” in the middle of the summer I turned 14, and asked my mom if I could have a different washcloth for my face  during “that week”. “You’re you, all over” was the answer. The blasted washcloths were in the linen closet; I could have just taken one, but it wouldn’t have surprised me if she didn’t count the stupid things when she did the laundry.

And it would no more have crossed my mind to take a fresh towel every time I took a bath than to try to fly by flapping my arms. Our middle daughter did take a notion to try the “towel a day” business when she was about fourteen, and I had to lock the towels in our bedroom. I didn’t really object to the idea, but once she started, the other two decided it sounded good, too.  We just didn’t own enough towels to use that many every day. I suggested that each select their own color, and use their clothing allowance to buy themselves five or six towels. Obviously, nothing ever came of that.

We washed our hair once a week – Saturday night in the stationary tubs in the basement. By Friday afternoon, your hair was so oily it stuck together, but heaven forbid you should wash it in the middle of the week. Actually, as harsh as the shampoos were back then, you’d have had a headful of straw if you used the stuff more than twice a week.

And The Squire grew up in a house that did not even have an indoor bathroom until he was fourteen! We won’t even get into that.

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One Response to “Bath Towels and Shower Stalls”

  1. Shay February 2, 2015 at 2:57 am #

    My best friend when I was little was allowed one towel per week. That’s it. In our house the girls got two, one for the body and one to dry the hair, so I found that mind-boggling.

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