White Man's History

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 life of the white man in the 1500's:

These are interesting.

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-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 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 entranceway. Hence
the saying a "thresh hold."

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

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 "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...


And they said we were savages.