Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"Marco" "Polo" "Marco" "Polo"

It’s official. Summer is here. I heard the usual dire prediction for Toronto on the radio today; May – July is going to be hot, humid and dry. Here we go again, thought I to myself, the even number houses get to water their lawn on even numbered days and the odd numbers, the odd days of the month. There will be pleas not to wash your car, use your lawnmower or BBQ and even water rations. That last one might be a slight exaggeration. But in a few years who knows?

My mind, as it likes, traveled back in time to when I was a youngster. As we were the poor pool-less family on the street, we made do with a slip and slide, running through the sprinkler (the one we ‘bought’ from the Catto family down the street after my brother decided to play golf with it, and my dad decide to fix) and attacking each other with water pistols (no super soakers for us) and water balloons.

No water rations though! No sir! Then I got to thinking, maybe this whole global warming thing is more cyclical than we are led to believe. You know, 25 years no water, 25 years lots of water. I never heard ‘requests’ over the radio to cut back on your watering or reports on the evening news (I was very advanced and inquisitive for my age) that water levels were “dangerously low”. Why then were my grandparents so tight with the H2O???? Maybe their generation had suffered through a “warming” phase in their day.

We used to go visit and play. By play I mean get dirty (see the Jell-o story) and would need, not want, to be bathed. This was difficult for my parents at the best of times. Even with a tub full of toys and water. Bernice would put the plug in (why let ANY escape down the drain) and let water run for about, oh I don’t know, 30 seconds and shut it off.

“In you get” she’d say smiling. Being the obedient little children we were, oh that’s right, we’re talking two or three at once, we climbed over the edge of the tub and into water that was as deep as a shallow puddle during a drought in July. “Don’t splash around too much”. Lady, are you kidding? The only way I was going to splash anyone was if I spit on them.

We would get soaped and shampooed, then be rinsed with cupfuls of water. Trust me when I say, the tap did run again. You were lucky if you got to go first, cause second, third and fourth sat in the same water. I think the last of us came out dirtier than when we went in.

My siblings and I have tried to determine the source of this odd ritual. Our grandparents were not cheap. After the bath we were allowed to stuff ourselves with pop and ice cream. They took us out for dinner and shopping just about every time we had a weekend with them. Maybe it was payback for the time we clogged the toilet with toilet paper just to see how much would actually go down. I wonder?

(For the record, the photo is from my parents tub of plenty.)


Blogger Lance Morrison said...

My family, being composed of two older siblings (one boy, one girl) and two younger siblings (one girl, one boy) never had to bathe together.

We did however have to 'share' water. And bathing schedule always was chronological, so the youngest was always the last to bathe... and guess who was the youngest?

You see why I like to take 2 showers a day. To my defence, they are short, quick showers and I still do oodles more for the environment than most large families.

Don’t judge me. Stop judging me.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

darling one
For many families in Smithville the ONLY source of water was the town pump- towards which were seen trudging the children of the 'poorer' families who didn't have a well or cistern. We had a cistern in our basement tht relied on rain water- my point is THERE WAS NO WATER SYSTEM- when it didn't rain it was the town pump or no water. Poppie had a pump in his back yard and would hand water his precious roses. ask me about the smithville 'sewer' system sometime- actually i didn't even want baths when i was a kid- i was a dirty little buggar.
love karen

5:22 AM  
Blogger Callooh said...

you got 30 seconds?! I would have killed for 30 seconds of water!

oh and water rationing - way of life here - water police and everything, you get caught watering on your "off day" you get a ticket - but its okay to have a sprinkler running for kids - so the trick is make the kids run around the sprinklers while you water. . . (ignore their cries that they are cold and wet and tired - this is the stuff of future blogs, or at least therapist bills)

7:15 PM  

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