They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & sold to the tannery…….if you had to do this to survive you were “Piss Poor”. But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot……they “didn’t have a pot to piss in” & were the lowest of the low. The 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 they still smelled pretty good by June.. However, since they were starting to smell… Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting Married. 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 cats and other small animals (mice, 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.” There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence. 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 (straw) on floor to help keep their footing.
As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold. In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old. Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “bring home the bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat. Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning 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, or the upper crust. Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would Sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake. England is old and small and the local folks started 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, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive… So 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….Now, whoever said History was boring!
GUEST POST: Rob Chasteen Scheer
Five years ago my then partner, now husband and I decided to adopt a child. As a person who grew up in the foster care system, it only made sense for me to adopt in my own backyard, the Washington D.C. area. We began as foster parents. Truly wanting to adopt a child, we feared starting out as foster parents as we knew the primary goal of fostering was to reunite children with their biological family. Reece and I felt that if we could change the life of one child, if even for a short time, then this would be worth it. We were both so ready to have a child in our lives that we set up our two spare bedrooms in preparation. One was decorated for an older child, the other for an infant. We stocked our pantry with Puffs and other children’s foods. On January 14, 2009 we received a call from a social worker stating they were in need of a foster home for a four year old girl and her two year old brother. We would become the third foster home to these children in less than three months. The next day, Amaya and Makai arrived in our home carrying a nothing more than a trash bag filled with a few outfits that looked like they had been worn a thousand times. Their whole life was in these bags.
I immediately flashed back to when I was ten years old, arriving at my foster home with the same thing, a trash bag. More than 30 years later, I still remember that day. I remember my foster parents taking me to buy clothes for church because I carried only a tattered pair of pants and two stained t-shirts.
The night of Amaya and Makai’s arrival, we took the siblings shopping and Amaya picked out a pink Cinderella nightgown. She was thrilled to choose it on her own. Later that night, we watched her from the doorway, looking at herself from every angle in the mirror. Amaya had a smile that was brighter than the sun; she was in her brand new pajamas that were only hers.
Four months later we got another call: Two more boys needed a foster home. We then welcomed our sons Greyson, two, and Tristan, 6 months. A social worker dropped them off carrying the same thing, just a trash bag full of used clothing. Our family grew from two to six seemingly overnight and we couldn’t have been happier.
Five years later, we still have the original trash bags. I don’t know what we will ever do with them or if we will ever tell our children about them. Reece and I felt like this was something we should keep, just like a child’s first blanket or stuffed animal.
This brings me to the reason I’m writing. Our hope is to make sure that no other child arrives at a foster home like this. We want them to receive something that comforts them, something of their own. We want them to realize how important they are. With the staggering number of children that enter the foster care system, we as a community can make a difference while they are on their journey.
We are asking you to help us stuff a Comfort Case. Our goal is 2000 cases by December 12, 2013—and no donation is too small. With your help, we hope to surpass our goal and be able to make many more foster children have an easier journey.
Senior Vice President