how things used to be
Next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:
- Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour.
- Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children - last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."
- Houses had thatched roofs - thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs, cats and other small animals (mice, rats, and bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery, and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof, hence the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs."
- The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (the straw left over after threshing grain) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more and more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. To prevent this, a piece of wood was placed in the entrance way - hence a "thresh hold."
- Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with a high acid content caused some of the lead to leach on to the food, causing lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
- Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, "the upper crust."
- England is old and small and they started out running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, one out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to listen for the bell. Thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was considered "a dead ringer." And that's the truth.
Who said that History is boring!?