KEYWORDS: soap, clothes, water, sunday, lard, monday

Millennial Soap

May 23, 2003

The New Heaven's Children!—Chapter 36!DFO 2285 9/86

1. OKAY, BACK TO CORN! When I was a boy, we used to have to husk the corn, & then we'd take the corncob & we'd set it on its butt. Do you know what the butt of the corncob is? It's the wide end where the big fat cob is sticking out. What's the other end of a corncob like? (David: It's pointed.) Yes, it's pointed! They told us how to put the butt on the table‚ & hold the point like this. It's kind of a dangerous job & little kids shouldn't do it, but I was a big kid. You take a sharp knife & you go down this side & slice all the little grains of corn off. Then we turn it a little bit & go down this side‚ & then turn it a little bit & go down this side. Usually we'd just trim off four sides like that until we got all the grains of corn off, & then we'd can the corn.

2. SOMETIMES IF I WAS HUNGRY & IT WAS GETTING NEAR LUNCHTIME, I'd put a few of those raw grains in my mouth. They were kind of tough without being cooked‚ but you could chew on them & they were nice & sweet & delicious. You can eat raw grains of corn easier than almost any other kind of raw grain because the grains are big, they're sort of soft & crisp & chewy & delicious! They've got a lot of meat inside. They're not as hard as wheat & rice, etc.

3. (TECHI: GREASING THE PIG?) Greasing the pig? Oh my goodness‚ I didn't finish that story! Sometimes you ask me a question & I give a long story just to give you your answers! You see, all these questions you keep asking me make me tell all these stories, but you learn something! So they had a game in the United States, it's usually a college game or a club game or something. That was in the days when there were a lot of farmers & nearly everybody was living on a farm. They'd take a little pig—not a piglet‚ not a little tiny thing about a foot long—but they'd take a pig that was about two feet long. (Techi: A sow?) No, that's another name for a big mama pig. And they'd rub lard all over it.

4. (TECHI: LARD?) THAT'S ANOTHER NAME FOR BACON GREASE. That's what you get when you take all the fat & you throw it in a pot & you boil it & it all becomes a liquid. Then when it cools off it hardens & that's lard. You see, there's so many words that you don't know because you don't know farm language.

5. WE USED TO MAKE SOAP OUT OF LARD. Remember how I told you about dear old sister Damaris—not demerit, but Damaris? When I was a little boy‚ I went over to her house on Sunday, & because the next day was wash day, everybody used to do their washing on Mondays. Do you know why?—See‚ here I go again!

6. WHEN I WAS A LITTLE BOY, WATER WAS KIND OF SCARCE & it cost money, & besides, only the rich had water heaters. You just heated a teakettle of hot water on the stove & you put as little cold water in the bottom of the bathtub as possible so that that one teakettle of water would heat the whole tub of water so it wouldn't be too cold when you got in.

7. SO EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT WAS BATH NIGHT. You only took a bath once a week‚ especially in cold weather with no water heater, & the water was so cold it was like liquid ice! I used to put only about two inches of cold water in the bottom of the tub, as little water as possible, so that that teakettle full of hot water would heat all that water real good so I could stand to get in it without freezing solid! And you always took a bath on Saturday night. Why did you take it on Saturday night? (Techi: Because you wanted to be nice & clean on Sunday morning!) That's right, for church! You went to Sunday School or church every Sunday morning, & that was your once-a-week clean-up!

8. SO YOU TOOK YOUR BATH ON SATURDAY NIGHT, & WHAT DID YOU DO WITH ALL YOUR DIRTY CLOTHES? (Children: You washed them!) Yes! You threw them in the clothes basket & you put them out for the laundry lady to wash on Monday morning! So Monday was wash day. We used to sing a little song: "Monday wash day...all God's little children‚ da–ta-da-ta-da!" I can't remember the rest of the words, but anyway, Monday was wash day.

9. (TECHI: I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU WANTED TO WASH YOUR CLOTHES ON MONDAY.) Because they wanted to wash them as quick as possible, because they were so stinky after wearing them for a whole week! Besides, in a damp warm climate if you didn't wash them right away they'd even get moldy & mildewed, & if there was food on them the roaches would eat the food & eat holes right through the cloth! Now is that good enough reason to wash them first thing on Monday morning?

10. (MARIA: SHE'S JUST WONDERING WHY YOU WASHED YOUR CLOTHES ON MONDAY & NOT SUNDAY.) Because you took the dirty clothes off on Saturday night‚ & of course any good Christian went to church on Sunday, & it was against the church rules to work on Sunday, so anybody who washed clothes on Sunday would have been a terrible sinner! So the soonest you could possibly wash them was Monday morning. You were too tired to wash them on Saturday night because it was too late.

11. YOU COULDN'T WASH THEM ON SUNDAY BECAUSE YOU WERE GOING TO CHURCH, & IT'D BE WORKING ON SUNDAY, WHICH WAS AGAINST THE CHURCH RULES! So the soonest you could possibly wash them was Monday morning, & you had to wash them as soon as possible, or they'd get stinky, mildewy‚ moldy or roach-eaten!—Get it? (Techi: I thought that maybe you could just wash them on Sunday.) Yes, but that would be working on Sunday & that was a sin! (Techi: Because if you get all nice & clean on Saturday night for Sunday morning & then you put on your filthy clothes...) No, no, no, you put on clean clothes on Sunday morning.

12. YOU DIDN'T PUT THE SAME CLOTHES BACK ON, YOU ALWAYS HAD A CLEAN CHANGE OF CLOTHES. You had at least two pairs of underwear, two pairs of socks, two shirts—at least that many. Then you could always throw one in the wash & wear the other one. So you wore some nice fresh clothes that had already been washed & ironed last Monday, & you pulled them out on Sunday morning & you put those on. Then they washed your dirty clothes the next day on Monday morning. Now how did I get onto that story? (Techi: Did we ever finish greasing the pig?) (David: We were talking about lard.) Oh, that's how we got onto it!

13. SO DEAR SISTER DAMARIS, THIS LITTLE OLD GREEK LADY who didn't speak very good English—I could hardly understand her—had a little boy about my age & I liked to play with him. We were about seven or eight years of age, & sometimes I'd go there for dinner on Sunday, & then her little boy & I would play together.

14. I REMEMBER HER LITTLE BOY WAS THE ONE WHO TAUGHT ME HOW TO GET RID OF MY WARTS. You had to wait for a full moon, & you went out at night under the full moon, & you threw a dead mouse over one shoulder & some salt over the other. First you rubbed the dead mouse & the salt on your warts & then you threw one over the one shoulder & the other over the other shoulder, & pretty soon your warts were gone!

15. (TECHI: IS THAT TRUE?) Well, we did it, & by–&-by the warts were gone! So I don't know if that's what did it or the Lord just healed'm. I have an idea He would have anyhow. That's an old wives' tale,it's superstitious. They used to do things like that when I was a kid. They still had a lot of superstitions when I was a kid.

16. SO ON SUNDAY DEAR SISTER DAMARIS COULDN'T WASH OUR CLOTHES, BUT SHE COULD MAKE THE SOAP inside the house & nobody could see her. She'd take pork fat‚ or any kind of fat that she trimmed off the meat during the week. She'd save all the fat that she'd trimmed off the meat that the family had eaten during the week. (Techi: She'd do it behind the house when no one was looking?) No, she'd do it inside the house.

17. IT WAS CONSIDERED A SIN FOR PEOPLE TO WORK ON SUNDAYS! But she had to have the soap for Monday morning wash, so she had to make the soap on Sunday. She threw all this fat in the pot & then she heated it on the stove until it melted & it became liquid fat‚ like when you do deep-fat frying or make french fries. While the fat was still hot & runny, she took these cigar boxes or sometimes she'd use cheese boxes—they used to have cheese in these little wooden boxes like cigar boxes in those days. They didn't have much in the way of cardboard & they had no plastics, etc.

18. SO SHE'D TAKE ANY KIND OF LITTLE WOODEN BOXES SHE COULD FIND, & usually she'd use cheese boxes or cigar boxes because they were made of wood. The only other kind of boxes they had were cardboard boxes & if she poured that hot boiling fat into the cardboard it would just melt the box. But the wood could stand it, so she'd pour this hot fat into these little wooden boxes.

19. WHILE THE FAT WAS BOILING SHE WOULD ALSO PUT LYE INTO THE FAT. That's how they make soap, out of lye & fat.—That's old-fashioned soap anyhow. I don't know the exact proportions, but when she had the fat boiling she'd pour in some lye. She knew just how much lye to put in. Then she poured it into these boxes, & it would cool off & the soap would harden. Then she'd turn the boxes over & knock the big blocks of soap out & she'd cut them into little bars.

20. THEN THE NEXT DAY WHEN SHE WASHED OUR CLOTHES, she went outside her little shack...(Techi: She didn't use lard!) Yes, that was the lard! I'm sorry, I forgot to tell you!—Boiled fat is lard‚ without lye. When they boil the fat, if they pour the fat out into little boxes & it doesn't have lye in it, it's not soap, they call it lard.

21. WHEN WE COULDN'T AFFORD BUTTER, & THEY DIDN'T HAVE ANY OLEO IN THOSE DAYS, YOU COULD BUY LARD IN PACKAGES & USE IT JUST LIKE BUTTER! We used to have to spread lard on our bread sometimes. (David: Did it taste bad?) Oh yes, it tasted terrible! I didn't like it, but it was better than nothing & it helped grease the bread. Lard is very greasy! So anyhow, when the soap came out of the boxes, sister Damaris cut it into big bars about that big! They were just about the size of bricks!

22. THEN THE NEXT DAY, MONDAY, SHE'D GO OUT IN HER BACK YARD & BUILD A LITTLE WOOD FIRE WITH FIREWOOD, & she'd set on the firewood this great big round iron kettle this big‚ almost a yard wide & nearly two feet deep. She'd then fill it full of water & then light the fire & put the clothes in the water after the water was real hot. Once she got the water & clothes in the kettle it was too heavy to pick up. They used to boil clothes in those days to make sure they killed all the germs.

23. WHILE THE WATER WAS GETTING HOT & THE CLOTHES WERE IN‚ she'd get out there with the soap in one hand—I'll never forget—she'd take her knife & she'd slice off soap chips, that's what we called them. She'd slice off little thin chips of that soap, & the minute they dropped into that hot water they'd just dissolve to nothing! They didn't have liquid soap in those days, they didn't even have soap chips, they didn't have soap granules or any kind of these soap-box soaps that they have nowadays.

24. THE FIRST SOAP THAT EVER CAME OUT IN FLAKES WAS IVORY FLAKES. It was already cut up into little flakes & was easy to use to do your laundry & washing. The first one that came out in a sort of a ground soap—I don't know how they did it—but it was in little tiny pieces & that was Oxydol. It came in a little box about the size of a book with a coupon on top, & if you saved up enough coupons you could send them in & get different kinds of toys.

25. (TECHI: WHAT IS A COUPON?) The coupon was the box top, & you wrote your name & address on there, & if you got enough of them saved up, you could go down to the store & trade them in for different toys. "Oxydol", that was a great soap, it was one of the first boxed soaps. Then there was another soap that came out, "Super–Suds", & that was little tiny granules that were even better & dissolved real quick!

26. BUT THAT WAS THE WAY PEOPLE HAD DONE THEIR WASHING FOR CENTURIES!—For thousands of years they had made soap just like dear old sister Damaris did! After the soap bar had cooled off, they sliced off these little soap chips. They had to make them thin‚ otherwise they wouldn't melt quickly in hot water.

27. SO ALL THAT TO TELL YOU WHAT LARD IS! It's boiled fat, cooled off. So it's greasy & they used to grease a pig with it & see which one of the college boys could catch it. And that pig could really run fast! They'd try to grab the pig, but it was so greasy they couldn't hold on to it! So the guy that finally grabbed it & held it got a prize! Now I don't know how edifying that is & I don't know why I even told that story! How did we get onto greased pigs anyway? (David: We were talking about lard.) Oh yes, I was telling you about how they grease the pig with lard, but I still don't know how we got onto greased pigs!—That's Grandpa!—Anyhow, that's how we'll wash clothes in the Millennium!