I don’t remember much about the house I was born in. We lived there until I was 4-1/2. The house was small for our family of five, (I was the 5th element) but the yard was substantial. Dad built an amazing play house, complete with a door, windows and chimney! (had it been added on to the house, my parents might have opted to stay there longer).
Our new house (one of the oldest in town) needed major renovations which dad started on immediately with the kitchen and bath. Both rooms were small and void of most modern conveniences. Dad installed a double sink, homemade painted cupboards on the short west wall, a gas stove and a fridge. Now mom had the means to cook supper, which she did every night but Saturday. The bathroom sported a new toilet, small vanity/sink, a bathtub and no window. On the downside, the bathroom was off the kitchen (a no-no). Our narrow kitchen had three doorways, one to the bathroom, outside plus our dining room, which was huge and beautiful but rarely used. The oak floor was stunning and mom’s new mission in life was to keep it blindingly shiny and as slippery as possible.
Mom had my hair cut short before I started kindergarten which made life easier for both of us. Without long hair (it was like a horsetail) I was able to take my own bath. I loved taking baths! First thing I’d start running the water, but not too hot until after I got in and was used to it. Next I’d run to the kitchen cupboard under the sink and grab the bottle of dishwashing detergent called Joy. It smelled great and made oodles of bubbles, but I didn’t squirt it in yet. I got in the tub first, wet my hair and poured a glop of Prell shampoo (it smelled good too) in my hands to wash my hair before the water got icky. After my hair was squeaky clean, I’d add a good squirt of Joy, turn off the cold faucet, scoot to the back of the tub and let the water get as hot as I could stand it.
I did this daily ritual until I left home. By then dad had remodeled the bathroom a second time, doubling its size heading north, adding a window and a very l o n g countertop, small sink and an unlit mirror, which made putting on makeup next to impossible when I was a teen. I begged him to add a shower but neither he nor mom were excited about this prospect. Mom got her hair ‘done’ at the beauty shop every week. How was she supposed to stand with a shower pouring over her head and not ruin her hairdo? Come to think of it, the ceiling was quite low when dad added on. At 5’12” (mom never liked saying she was 6 feet tall, although she never slouched and stood ramrod straight) she might have been a head taller than the shower head). Dad thought a shower was extravagant and a foolish idea. (I was seriously losing my power of persuasion with those 2. They were immune to my willful and needful ways).
So my opportunities to shower were few and far between. I think my bestie Char had a shower after they moved from 15th Street to 16th. When I stayed overnight I’d just go home the next morning and take a bath, but I remember six or eight of us teenage girls arriving at Char’s one day and before we left, we each needed a shower. All of us brought a bottle of hair dye so we could change our hair color. I don’t remember if everyone’s mom was ticked about this latest daredevil stunt, but mine was livid. We were such rebels!
Hubs was a participant in 2 sweaty sports in school, football and wrestling, so he ended up showering in school after practice and games. The school supplied a locking basket which held clean undies and socks but the RVHS didn’t supply towels. Johnny’s towel was tossed back in the basket daily and never got a chance to dry completely. The few times the towel dried thoroughly during holidays or the weekend, it was so stiff it could walk beside him on the way to get cleaned up again.
Hubs’ parents built a new house in 1958 but their one bathroom also lacked a shower. (Slow to change parents like mine). I wonder when adding a shower to the bathroom in building new homes became the norm?
We’ve been married 5 plus decades. I just added up the number of houses we’ve lived in over the years. Dang we moved a lot at first. Some places were just a few months but a couple were more than 2 years. Basically we moved about every year. The last 40 years we’ve lived in 4 homes, one of them for 21 years. The first dozen years and equal number of homes only had 3 showers. All were rentals but one. The last 4 homes had showers but John added them to 2 of our bathrooms.
We lived the longest in North Muskegon and had great bathrooms. One half bath downstairs, 2 full upstairs, one with a tub and shower and the master had a jacuzzi and a walk in shower. The tub was nice but huge and took 20 minutes to fill and used every drop from the hot water heater. It was just too time consuming. I don’t think I could get out of that tub anymore.
We debated our bathroom remodel for six months after we moved here 6 years ago. We wanted a nice walk-in shower and neither of us were excited about a bathtub, so we didn’t put one in. Probably gonna hurt our resale but at this point we don’t much care. I’ve had my fill of tubs…