The family bathroom

It wasn’t a fancy place. 

It was functional and clean with a little bit of frill with my mother’s white ruffled Priscilla curtains. The front window, which you could see when you sat on the potty, looked out towards the front road and the barn. It was small, but you could still squeeze 3 people and a dog and several cats in there.
Which we did. 
You see, our family bathroom was sort of a communal place sometimes. Oh, it was a private place for thoughts or body functions, but in times of need, sickness or family practicality, it took on a feeling of community.

Dad never grew a beard or a mustache in all his life. I sometimes wonder what he would’ve looked like with one, but I can’t imagine it. Evidently, he couldn’t imagine it either, as he shaved every day, and sometimes again in the evening if he and mom were going out. 

I “shaved’ with my dad. 

Even though, I was a 5 year old female with no whiskers of any sort, I was allowed to “shave” with my dad. He’d get out his cup and shaving brush and whip up a frothy “Old Spice-y” lather and apply it to his face. 

Then dad would get out his razor to shave. He’d give me an empty one without the razor blade in it and I’d get to soap up and shave my girlish face too. Then came the patting dry towel, and the brisk splash and ritual after shave slapping to wake you up. 
Shiny and fresh were we.

I saw my mother naked here for the first of many times. She is gone now, as is my dad, but their memories are still with me. The bath was a place I could have my mom's undivided attention as she sat in the tub and bathed and I would sit on the rug or the lid of the potty and chat. We would chat about this and the conversations that happened there were as real and true as the reality of the total person that was there behind the shower curtain. Mom had 6 kids, and her belly was stretched from it. Her belly pouch sagged into a comfortable shape of a W. At first disconcerting, then sort of sweet and loveable I found myself conforming to this womanly shape as I aged. Yes, I am turning into my own mother. (even as I nurture my inner child, my body is mimicking my mother outside).
My own grown daughter now jokes about inheriting this body shape and we consider it just part of our own heritage. 
We feel the "W' is for Wonder Woman.
If you were sick, you could always call for someone to come to the bathroom to help you, get more TP or fetch you something to help you in your current hour of need. 

There were also times of work in the bathroom, cleaning it or cleaning the dog or cats that needed baths.  Giving the cats baths was always a time of swift and deliberate labor, with bandaids given as treats for afters.

The most fun, how’ere, was bubble baths with my little sister and I. We would beg mom for a “Mr. Bubble” bubble bath and about once a week we could have the treat. We would play with the bubbles on our faces, making bubbly beards like Santa or the Devil or moustaches like Snideley Whiplash from Dudley Doo-Right. We’d search for toys and submarines and have oceanic epic battles with our boats. 

Then, tragically,  when the water was too cold to stay in anymore, we’d pull the plug and stay in the tub, not wanting to leave, but have it drain down all around us.

This is when the last and bestest fun was to be had. We lay side by side on our backs in the tub, with the warm porcelain next to our wet, clean skin, and by just lifting a stuck arm or small of the back, we could make horrendous fart sounds.
They would carry for miles and miles, as well as the sound of our infectious, bliss-filled squeaky clean, potty humor laughter.

This is the real reason why we didn’t have TV.  


Anonymous said...

Mariyn, I read your story and with tears in my eyes, as I reply. Thank you for bringing me back to younger days. You are so funny. And just a few notes, I still remember a bottle of MR. Bubbles on the back of the tub, and the smell of your dads after shave. (BAY RUM).
Fond regards, Dave

Terri said...

OMG, thank you for sharing must be some universal generational fun. I remember some identical times in the bathroom in my childhood home. Leaves me wondering if the convenience of 2 bathrooms is worth the lost family times? I remember powdered Mr. Bubble and how difficult it could be to get the caked powder out of the box for your bath. there were 5 of us 4 girls 1 boy. As the youngest girl I was always scheduled to bathe with one of the older girls and it was fun..... Poor 1 boy always had to potty alone.... Watching my father shave and "shaving" along with him are some of my fondest memories too. Thank you again! Terri