"We got along the hard way," says Dorothy Templin of the days before hot water flowed from faucets.
wow did our ancestors get along
Dorothy Jones Templin’s recol-
pan was used for personal hygiene,
before automatic hot water heaters?
lections go back to the days when with the warm water to fill it com-
The answer to that question was
pumps sometimes froze in the win- ing from the reservoir on the range
resting somewhere in the back of
ter and hot water had to be carried or from the heated teakettle.
ind, but I really hustled it up
out to thaw them.
len Dicks Pock, whose family
front and center the day after Christ-
“We got along the hard way,“.she
lived in town, recalls that in her
mas-the day our hot water heater
recalls, noting that anyone who was
died.
careless enough to leave water in the
In a modern-day emergency such
tcakcttlc on a very cold night might
as the one I[ faced, when one has to
find the kettle frozen and burst by
cookstove. “That would last us all
revert tcmporarily to a more
morning.
y as a rule,” she says.
tive mode, it alway
The kitchen range always had a
“Mother always put a marble in
remember that our prog
water reservoir at the end, and so
e teakettle so that a lime deposit
survived under such ‘har
long as there was a fire in the range,
wouldn’t build up.”
Before automatic
thcrc was warm or hot water avail-
And potholders were a necessary
heaters, water was
able from the reservoir, depending
accessory to the kettle in the days
an open fire and, later, on the cook-
upon the heat of the fire at the time.
before heat resistant handles became
But the reservoir didn’t hold
a part of most cookware.
enough water for baths or washing
“‘Mother would crochet a square
clothes, so this had to be heated
and then make a broader of double
separately, in an iron kettle over an
or triple-ply,‘” Helen remembers.
open fire or in a wash boiler atop
Since the Dicks had a pitcher
week affairs and children changed
the range,
pump beside the kitchen sink, they
their clothes after school so they
Dorothy recalls that white didn”t have to go outside for water,
same outfit to school
clothes were always boiled to keep
but coal must be brought in from
them white. The procedure was to
the coal shed, as well as kindling for
fill the wash boiler with water and,
the fire.
while it was heating, break (soften)
Rather than wait for the water to
urday (bath night) about dinner
the water with lye,
heat in the morning, the Dicks
time, my dad would go down in the
A scum from the lye would rise
washed their faces and hands at the
basement and turn up the thermostat to the top and had to be skimmed kitchen sink with cold water,
on our hot water heater so there
off before the white clothes could be
“It wakes you up,” says Helen.
would be enough hot water for all
“We were just so accustomed to it
five of us to bathe,
Between baths, a granite wash
that we didn’t mind.”

But when it was time for a bath, behind the stove. indeed there was life before thcrc
--


the stove top was covered with big
Helen was in her 20s before was automatic hot water, I can only
pans in which water was heated to indoor plumbing and a gas water say (as I turn on the hot water faucet
fill the tub that had been placed in
heater simplified life for her family. and again feel warmth), “Fast
the warmest spot in the house-
After the foregoing reminder that Times, I salute you.”