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my college roommate was an extremely intelligent guy but he was a klutz. Also he was “regular”, he pooped at the same time every day which was after we customarily had gone to the woods to hunt. We were deer hunting at their hunting club one bitter cold (probably shirtsleeve weather to you folks up north) week and he attempted to do the paperwork after he made his morning deposit with leaves which most sane people know are dry and crumbly. The results were less than sanitary. He decided to take toilet paper with him and avoid the mess of the previous day. The sun had been up a while when the urge hit him so he found a sunny spot in an attempt to stay warmer while his pants were down. The warming sun had melted the very top of the ground leaving it very slippery atop the frozen layer below. He was leaning against a tree and as he twisted to the side to retrieve his TP his feet slipped out from him and he sat squarely on his freshly laid cable which caused him to get undressed and use his underwater to help clean up the dried leaves and 💩. Not to be out done the next day he found a fallen tree and sat on a limb, did his business and cleanup and was very proud of himself for the outcome of his efforts. I failed to mention he was a short guy. As he hopped down off of his throne and went to pull his pants up he saw there was poop all over the back of one pants leg where had swung his short legs under himself. He said from now on I am just going to stand there, move my feet apart and go in my pants, I’ll get the same results and stay warm. This actually didn’t happen on consecutive days but over the course of a week’s hunt.
 
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my college roommate was an extremely intelligent guy but he was a klutz. Also he was “regular”, he pooped at the same time every day which was after we customarily had gone to the woods to hunt. We were deer hunting at their hunting club one bitter cold (probably shirtsleeve weather to you folks up north) week and he attempted to do the paperwork after he made his morning deposit with leaves which most sane people know are dry and crumbly. The results were less than sanitary. He decided to take toilet paper with him and avoid the mess of the previous day. The sun had been up a while when the urge hit him so he found a sunny spot in an attempt to stay warmer while his pants were down. The warming sun had melted the very top of the ground leaving it very slippery atop the frozen layer below. He was leaning against a tree and as he twisted to the side to retrieve his TP his feet slipped out from him and he sat squarely on his freshly laid cable which caused him to get undressed and use his underwater to help clean up the dried leaves and 💩. Not to be out done the next day he found a fallen tree and sat on a limb, did his business and cleanup and was very proud of himself for the outcome of his efforts. I failed to mention he was a short guy. As he hopped down off of his throne and went to pull his pants up he saw there was poop all over the back of one pants leg where had swung his short legs under himself. He said from now on I am just going to stand there, move my feet apart and go in my pants, I’ll get the same results and stay warm. This actually didn’t happen on consecutive days but over the course of a week’s hunt.
Slow learner wasn't he. I've worked where your didn't want to crap. Being subject to call 24 hours a day I was blessed being able to COD (crap on demand) before going work. I've always kept a pack of MRE toilet paper in the tool bag on the Harley in case any of the ladies on the ride need to P in the bushes 😅
 
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That smiling thing is a myth. When photography first appeared, it was proper to have your picture taken as you would appear in public without facial gestures. Such as smiling, laughing or sticking your tongue out. This tradition is still carried on today in mug shots and ID photos.
My Paternal grandmother had a book of tintypes with our ancestors in it. Looking at the flyleaf they are all identified by name, many names still in the family generations later. All are stiff , posed photos in formal wear typical of the times. Except for the one with our family name. He is shabbily dressed, tie askew, unshaven, stub cigar in his mouth, dirty hat slouched on his head and is obviously drunk. So much for our family pride!!!

Don
 
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?, who knows?
I used to keep chickens and rabbits. Turned the chickens out in the morning, they would work the garden then go out in to the woods.
But when I butchered a rabbit they were all there and did a good job of cleaning up the offal.
Now at times there would be a pile of innards, and all the birds pecking, till one grabs a hunk and ran, and the others would leave the pile to chase the one running
Chickens don’t go to heaven when they die, they’re reincarnated as grumpy old men.
We can’t stay on subject when some other takes a tangent
 
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Again a myth. Early photography had real long exposure time. Up to two or three minutes. Wet plate got faster but even then was several seconds.
When snap shots came along about 1900 folks started smiling
Over a good many Christmas seasons this Santa has developed smile muscles of steel from holding a smile while photographers, assistants, parents, grandparents, and others put their hearts and souls into all sorts of silly efforts to make a disgruntled child smile. If it ever happens, it'll be for an instant, and Santa had better look good when the flash goes off. 🎅
 
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I was born in 44 and was raised til 18 in a navy family. Bug juice was a common house hold term at home. Toilet paper was also known as slipskin and baloney was known as horsecXXk. Other various parts of the house or quonset hut had their names. I went into the army and had to learn a whole new set of terms for things.
 

Loyalist Dave

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That's Elizabethan English, and is quite understandable, and by the time of the colonies was even closer to our English..., ;)

Beowulf, is Olde English, and needs translation. o_O

Hwæt. We Gardena in geardagum,
þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum,
monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah,
egsode eorlas. Syððan ærest wearð
feasceaft funden, he þæs frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þah,
oðþæt him æghwylc þara ymbsittendra
ofer hronrade hyran scolde,

gomban gyldan. þæt wæs god cyning.

LD
 
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That's Elizabethan English, and is quite understandable, and by the time of the colonies was even closer to our English..., ;)

Beowulf, is Olde English, and needs translation. o_O

Hwæt. We Gardena in geardagum,
þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum,
monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah,
egsode eorlas. Syððan ærest wearð
feasceaft funden, he þæs frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þah,
oðþæt him æghwylc þara ymbsittendra
ofer hronrade hyran scolde,

gomban gyldan. þæt wæs god cyning.

LD
For those inclined check out "The Adventure of English" for the history of our language and a lot of just plain good history too.
 

Brokennock

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That's Elizabethan English, and is quite understandable, and by the time of the colonies was even closer to our English..., ;)

Beowulf, is Olde English, and needs translation. o_O

Hwæt. We Gardena in geardagum,
þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum,
monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah,
egsode eorlas. Syððan ærest wearð
feasceaft funden, he þæs frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þah,
oðþæt him æghwylc þara ymbsittendra
ofer hronrade hyran scolde,

gomban gyldan. þæt wæs god cyning.

LD
Ah, one of my all time favorites. Thank you.
No time to read it tonight.
I guess I'll be listening to Seamus Heaney reading it as an audio book in the truck tomorrow 👍
 
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Ah, one of my all time favorites. Thank you.
No time to read it tonight.
I guess I'll be listening to Seamus Heaney reading it as an audio book in the truck tomorrow 👍
I got a book on tape to listen to on the road when driving. The readers voice was great. And pretty soon I was in a mead hall looking to bang my fist on an oaken table…. Oh my
I had to turn it off, never had anything I listened to read like that was so exciting.
And I’ve read it several time, I knew the story. But read like that it was hypnotic
If you listen to it in old English it ain’t of course sounds German. But if you concentrate you can catch enough to follow the story…. With a lot of holes
 

Brokennock

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I got a book on tape to listen to on the road when driving. The readers voice was great. And pretty soon I was in a mead hall looking to bang my fist on an oaken table…. Oh my
I had to turn it off, never had anything I listened to read like that was so exciting.
And I’ve read it several time, I knew the story. But read like that it was hypnotic
If you listen to it in old English it ain’t of course sounds German. But if you concentrate you can catch enough to follow the story…. With a lot of holes
Yup.
I've read it many times, a couple different translations.
But listening to Seamus read his translation of it in his heavy Scots accent is otherworldly. I'm sure you can find a clip to listen to with a Google search.
 
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Fels Naphtha soap brings back memories of being an MOP [man on probation] in the fire house scrubbing under the trucks getting the winter grime off the frames and undercarriage. Wonderful days of 45 years ago. Wish I could go back.
 
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In the early 1950's , I used to go with the neighbor kid to visit his grand parents in Preston Co. w.Va.. The old non-working sheep farm was about 1.5 mi. from the east bank of the Cheat river , and 12 mi. of sand road , from the nearest macadam road. Nearest neighbor was about 4 mi. away. The outhouse was about 20 ft. from the kitchen door , and the cold water fawcet came into the kitchen sink from a sulfur spring up a hill from the farm house. The outhouse , had an elevated wooden walkway , to the kitchen door porch . The elevated walk way, was necessary in warm weather , and at night , due to the nasty copper head snakes , that sometimes came out of the woods. As little kids , we were assigned to sleep in bed together upstairs , on one of the old creaky coil spring mattress. Every time you rolled over , the mattress made some strange , kinda like circus fun house sounds , and took some getting used to. The two of us kids , used to lay in bed after lights out , and listen to the adults fart , and use the metal slop jars , with metal lids that banged , when put back in place. Once we couldn't stop laughing , and were admonished by my friends Dad , as he laughingly closed our door. ...........oldwood
 

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In a recent and ongoing thread some age old myths about colonial life surfaced. I confess I only read about a page, and had to pen this....


NO Bathing?
So we hear this a lot, and how people would douse themselves to the point of being self-marinated in perfume, because they didn't bathe. This is Balderdash upon Balderdash. They rarely conducted full immersion bathing in the home..., because it was a pain in the arse to heat all that water (especially in a quick manner) , and to maintain a vessel for the purpose aka a bathtub. (Ben Franklin was rich enough to own such BTW). Authors in the past for some unknown reason decided that since there was no bathtub in the home, and some sources mentioned "bathing" only once or twice a year, that meant that they didn't "wash" their bodies. They never bothered to look into the fact that when the old sources used the term "bathing" they mean full immersion, and not always in hot water. There is AMPLE evidence that folks performed washing of more than their face and hands on a regular basis. We would call this a "sponge bath". Franklin regularly aired his body in his rooms, calling the procedure an "air bath"... and today we know that a lot of the odor causing bacteria on the body is anaerobic (which is why the stinkiest of places on a person are the crevices on the skin where moisture doesn't evaporate, and are dark most of the time.

As for the perfume "dousing" that was simply another one of the "conclusions" of so called historians, who simply decided that since perfume existed, and bathtubs didn't then it must have been used to cover the stench. Of course it never occurs to these same "scholars" that such perfume was highly expensive. The same way that you hear how "pepper" was used to cover the taste of tainted meat so was desired by Europeans who had no refrigeration at that time in history... ignoring the fact that spices were SO expensive that IF you could afford pepper you darn well could afford fresh meat.... so wouldn't need the pepper.....

Washing of Clothing?
Folks, part of hygiene in the 18th century, in fact a major part, was in using clean clothing on a daily basis. So not only was washing with water and a cloth performed, but changing clothes on a regular basis was performed. Not to mention that a lot of clothing was also for protection, i.e. women wearing a head covering was fashion but kept their hair cleaner than not from soot and smoke and perspiration. A recent study was done where one man bathed as modern folks do and the other wore 18th century clothing and changed into something clean every day, sometimes changing twice a day. Results for the guy not "bathing" was only a slightly higher amount of personal bacteria and much akin to several European nations today in this century. This use of clothing wasn't a practice for just the "rich" or the "prosperous" either, as information on common folk on the "frontier" show a good quantity of clothing especially the clothing that was worn as undergarments. Further Proof? Folks, Castile Soap (hard, lye soap) was exported into Antwerp, Belgium in the 1560s. In the 1600's the Spanish purchased a monopoly on the stuff in Europe and then it later caused a problem in England as it was cheap enough to supplant the soft soap that the English were making and using. (Until widespread availability of hard [Castile] soap, all soap was "soft" ) . IF folks aren't using it to wash themselves.... what then? Clothing.

Further, the bathtub was commonly found in homes by the middle of the 19th century, but the first commercial deodorant, known as Mum, didn't appear until 1888. Zinc was discovered in 1746. Zinc Oxide was in wide use by 1850, and at the time it's active ingredient was zinc oxide. Mum is still made today btw, but has a different formula.

So folks weren't covered in filth and reeking during in the Colonial Period.

The Language was hard to Understand?
Um so here is some written text, text based on the spoken language of the period....,

"There do not frequently occur opportunities of obtaining a passage from Charlestown to Norfolk : the season was too far advance to admit of travelling on horseback through North-Carolina, and making in that state a sufficiently long stay to acquire good information. After having waited a week for a vessel to convey me to Virginia I had engaged a birth [berth] in a sloop, but my Charleston friends thought it too much encumbered with passengers to allow of my being conveniently accommodated on board..." from a journal of 1799

The subsistence of the men in Hospital must be thrown into a fund, for the benefit of the whole in general, and no particular account given to each man, in what manner his money has been expended ; for though the disorder of one may not require the consumption of his Pay, yet that of another may much more, when wine, rich broths, and things of that kind are absolutely necessary : Cuthbertson 1776

Going back a little more than a century, we can still read and understand this recipe

Take a Pottle of Cream, and boil in it a little whole Cinnamon, and three or four flakes of Mace. To this proportion of Cream, put in eighteen yolks of Eggs, and eight of the whites ; a pint of Sack [sweet sherry] ; beat your eggs very well, and then mingle them with your Sack. Put in three quarters of a pound of sugar into the Wine and Eggs with a Nutmeg grated, and a little beaten Cinnamon ; set the basin on the fire with the wine and eggs and let it be hot. Then put in the Cream boyling from the fire ; pour in on high, but stir it not ; cover it with a dish, and when it is settled, strew on the top a little fine Sugar mingled with three grains of Ambergreece, and one grain of Musk, and serve it up. Sir Kenelm Digby 1669

Now yes, there were no established norms in spelling, the font of the printing of the time at first reading may be tough but regular reading and it becomes easy, and the further back one goes one gets some interesting phrasing, not to mention some accents and other dialects were found, but the majority of the people who were British subjects could and did speak English similar to what we would speak today. It's not Shakespeare and definitely not Chaucerian English.

Life expectancy

Compared to today, where we have childhood vaccines, antibiotics, antivirals, anesthetics, and chemotherapy (not just for cancer btw), the medicine of the 18th century sucked. BUT folks confuse "average life expectancy" stats with survival expectancy. The reason the life expectancy was low in the 18th century was childhood mortality due to a lack of pre-natal care and vaccines, which skews the average downwards. IF you survived past about 5 years of age..., you were likely to live to be old age, if you avoided a war zone. And "avoiding a war zone" doesn't mean being involved in the fighting but avoiding being exposed to bacteria and viruses cheerfully brought to your village by a moving army, even your own country's army. In New England in the 17th Century, it became common for people to know their grandparents, and by the 18th century, people in Britain were living to between 50 and 65, BUT people in the English Colonies in America were living on average as much as 20 years more, to 65-70, and it was not unheard of to live into one's 80's.

LD

I have to disagree with you on a couple of points.
There were so many variables in the time period we are discussing that it is almost impossible to make many broad assumptions about the cleanliness of people’s bodies or clothes.
Some people almost never washed anything, some did it more often, as the availability of water, soap, time, and temperatures allowed.
Some people working away from home (if they had one) might not do any kind of bath or rag-washing for a month or more; but when back at home, might do at least a rag washing every day or so - same for their clothing.
For the small percentage that lived on or near the dangerous edges of the frontier, doing personal hygiene stuff could get you killed. Collecting extra firewood or water, bathing in a stream, having most or all of your clothes off all at once made people much more vulnerable in an attack. The increased risk of pneumonia or bronchitis in very cold weather before the advent of pharmaceutical drugs needs no explanation.
As for the use of perfume to cover up body odors, some wealthier people did use it for that purpose, just as some do now, with men using deodorant and cologne.
I have a suspicion that the heavy, voluminous, multi-layered clothing styles of the European upper classes were as much for containing body odor as for style and warmth. Particularly for women in times before the availability of the variety of feminine hygiene products we have today.
 

smoothshooter

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Same with us growing up. We filled the tub and took our turn in it with the last child getting very dirty water. and like you said, our neighbors had the latitude to bust our butt if needed, and then they would send word to our parents about what they did and why and we usually got another tail warming for embarrassing our family when we returned home and we were better kids for it.

When I was a kid 8-12 years old we did the galvanized washtub baths and washrag baths since we had no running water in the house. Two of my main jobs were to prime the hand pump and pump and carry water into the house; the other was to empty the pot into the 2-holer outhouse out back. Mowed the yard too.
For some reason, since I was the oldest kid out of 3, the protocol was that I had to go in the tub last, in the dirty bathwater, which I grew to hate.
I am 66 years old, and to this day I will not take a bath in a bath tub unless I really need a bath, and there is absolutely no other option.
Since then it has been a shower every day or two. Have not taken a bath in a tub since about 1977.
Our current house has two bathrooms, but no tub. Showers only.
 
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When I was a kid 8-12 years old we did the galvanized washtub baths and washrag baths since we had no running water in the house. Two of my main jobs were to prime the hand pump and pump and carry water into the house; the other was to empty the pot into the 2-holer outhouse out back. Mowed the yard too.
For some reason, since I was the oldest kid out of 3, the protocol was that I had to go in the tub last, in the dirty bathwater, which I grew to hate.
I am 66 years old, and to this day I will not take a bath in a bath tub unless I really need a bath, and there is absolutely no other option.
Since then it has been a shower every day or two. Have not taken a bath in a tub since about 1977.
Our current house has two bathrooms, but no tub. Showers only.
I know the feeling all too well, but unfortunately, I have to take more baths these days because I'm not that steady on my feet. I remember back in the day people would say the reason they didn't like bathtubs was because they were washing their face in the same water they washed their rear ends in. I guess you remember the water not being very warm by the time it was your turn?
 

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