29 May 2014


Letter B

My grandparents had moved to Schlüchtern a little town in Hessen (Germany) to avoid the heavy bombing of Frankfurt where they lived. In this little town the war seemed far away, except that it was difficult to buy food, but it was still easier on the countryside then in a big town. My mother followed when I was born in 1943 and stayed with her parents. All I can remember was that we all lived in a big timber framed house together with my grandpa's brother, his wife, some sisters and the house was packed.

I must have been 2 or 3 years old, but I still can remember the courtyard and a little boy who shared my room and who cried all the time. Fortunately my grandparents found two rooms to rent in a big house owned by a widow and a little later they moved into a small apartment where my grandma stayed until she was 85. They took me with them and I stayed until I was 6, then my parents took me back to live with them.

Of course there was no bathroom nowhere. People went once a week usually on Saturdays to the public bath. I remember that my grandma packed towels and soap in a bag and off we went to have our weekly bath. There I was already older maybe 4. Before that, it was an exciting preparation when it came to my bath time on Saturday morning.

I tried to find similar pictures of the cupboard and the stove as I remember.

My grandma heated water on the kitchen stove, took out a big zinc tub which she put on the kitchen floor. The kitchen was the heart of the apartment, we stayed in there all the time, it was warm because of the kitchen stove which is known as a "range" in the UK. It was a very cozy place, with a large table, chairs and a cupboard.

When the water was heated she filled in the tub checked the temperature of the water and then put me in. What fun it was, splashing in the warm water. She scrubbed me with soap and when I was clean enough in her opinion, she wrapped me in a warm towel, which she had hanged at the stove. Later on, my grandpa would go to the public bath and then my grandma, one had to stay with me of course !

I almost had forgotten this Saturday ritual, but I noticed that with the age, suddenly childhood memories come back.

Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday


Kay L. Davies said...

So wonderful when old memories surface, especially if they are happy ones, like your bath prepared for you by your grandmother.
I have many memories of being a small child with grandparents. Even after my brother was born 22 months later, he was just a beloved infant, but I was an interesting walking, talking person.
Luv, K

Jo said...

You're right there: with age the furthest back memories constantly pop up. This is a LOVELY memory and I can relate to bathing in a tin tub on the lawn as well. I love the range: I had one in my house as recently as 2002! Have a great day.

Pondside said...

What sweet memories of that time with your grandparents. My husband tells stories of going to a bathhouse in the local dairy when he was a boy in Denmark. Not so long ago, in some ways, but a lifetime ago, in others.

Linens and Royals said...

You're right, age does bring back old memories. I think women must have been stronger in those days carrying all that water around. I don't think there were any public baths around here, there always seemed to be a bath somewhere even if it wasn't in the house. I do remember my father tapping the water tank sometimes to check if there was enough water for a bath and being pleased when there wasn't.

Mara said...

I never had to deal with those type of baths. All the houses I lived in had showers and even my paternal grandparents did, although I hardly ever used it. My maternal grandparents had one of those old fashioned bathrooms with only a very very very big sink. Small children could sit in it, but once you got bigger it was a case of filling it and then having a good wash.

Anonymous said...

And I'm sure that now even the strangest memories sound sweeter, right?

carol l mckenna said...

Gattina ~ what a wonderful post and photos for B ~ Happy Weekend to you ~ xoxo

artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

Mary said...

Even though it wasn't the best of times, how great that you have good memories!

Wandering Wren said...

This is the funniest thing but I went to the Melbourne Public baths this week, they have restored 9 baths in little cubicles and I nearly did bath too! Your memories are great - love and warm towels :)
Wren x

Sue said...

What a great story, Gattina. I really enjoyed reading it.


Sarah~Magnolia Surprise said...

Wonderful story and memories! Love that cute photo of you! I remember taking baths in my grandparents' kitchen when I was little -- in a galvanized tub just like you!! I loved it!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love hearing the stories from your childhood.

Sandra Carlier said...

Lovely memories of your childwood! It was hard time during the war but your grand parents were so kind people that you never forget those nice moments!!!

Birgit said...

Your memories sound very familiar -- it's what my mom has told me, too. :)

Norma Ruttan said...

You were an adorable tyke with such a sweet look on your face! Here in my town, even right after the war, housing was scarce. So my parents, little brother and I lived in an apartment that had neither tub nor shower. I too remember being bathed in a galvanized tub in front of the coal stove in the kitchen. I have no memories of how my parents bathed. What's with that? Any way, I enjoyed reading your story.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Fun memories. I love when good memories pop back up from wherever they hide while we're younger and too busy with every day life to think about the past.

The trick (and you definitely have it figured out) is to keep on making new memories at the same time as we remember the old ones!

Lady Lilith said...

Sounds like bathing was a chore.
I guess we are really lucky to have all the modern comforts.

Annesphamily said...

I love hearing about other people and their memories. Makes me smile.I suppose that is why I write about my phamily so much at my blog. They make me smile. Funny my mother's mother was my BFF forever! She lost her eyesight when I was 7. I adored her and she always comforted me when I was scared.She passed away when I was in the 6th grade, long ago. Still miss her everyday. My dad's mother was ill a lot and not the friendliest lady I knew. My paternal grandfather, oh how I adored him. Taken too soon from me although he was getting up there in age when I was a child, Sigh! I lvoe looking at old photos and wondering what the people in them were thinking. I have a beautiful photo of my mother with most of her siblings. I often wonder when their father and brother died in a mining accident how they survived? But they were strong willed and somehow managed to get on with life. Makes me sad but happy too because I had my mom for a long while and my BFF grandmother for a short time. Thank you for sharing. We take many things for granted and not everyone had luxuries like daily bathing! Thank you for sharing. enjoy the weekend.

Eden House News and views said...

Wonderful, we take for granted our home comforts today. Sadly there are people in third world countries don't even have luxury of going to the baths and bathe in filthy rivers great post thank you

Cristina Pop said...

Such a great story!

Jenny said...



You are sooooo adorable!

I am just smiling ear to ear over your picture!

We lived with my Grandmother in rural Ohio from 1970 - 1972.

Trust me when I say it was not very much fun taking a bath in those metal tubs as a teenager.

Thank heavens I was skinny then!


Thanks for a beautiful link for the letter "B".