First Word – August 2009

Everyone’s worried about our economy, jobs, health care, social security, and wondering when that next bid or order will come in. I’ve had my fill of bad news, so I thought I’d take a break and share an intriguing email a friend sent me about life in the 1500’s. I’ll let you decide on whether or not you believe these stories.

· 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 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 made of 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 rooms. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your bed. So a bed with a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

Now, I can’t prove that this information is true but you have to admit, it is pretty interesting … and a welcome distraction from the news of today!