Truth or Fiction?

These are from my friend Mike. I don’t know who sent them to him, but I believe someone did. I don’t think he’s quite old enough to have lived in the 1500’s, but you never know. 😉  

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 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 fall 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 entrance way. 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 the upper crust. 
 
               Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. 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, thread 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…Now, whoever said History was boring! ! ! 
 
                 Educate someone. Share these facts with a friend.


One Response to “Truth or Fiction?”

  1. drtombibey Says:

    I enjoyed this one. I’ve missed a diagnosis or two along the way, but every time I signed a death certificate, it turned out to be accurate. Thank goodness.

    All of your posts remind me of something I’ve seen along the way. Eventually I’m gonna tell about my lady patient who predicted she’d live to a hundred. She made it, but what a journey.

    Dr. B

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