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Re: Digest Number 104

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  • w4th@xxxxx.xxxxxxxxxxxx)
    I was sent this in an email. It say life in rural Alabama, but I think it is talking about England. I am not sure. But it is still interesting.....Tom
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 1999
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      I was sent this in an email. It say life in rural Alabama, but I think
      it is talking about England. I am not sure. But it is still
      interesting.....Tom Hix....Boaz

      Life in the 1500's (or life in rural Alabama) ������� �
      Anne Hathaway was the wife of William Shakespeare. She married at the
      age of 26. This is really unusual for the time. Most people married
      young, like at the age of 11 or 12. Life was not as romantic as we may
      picture it. Here are some examples: ������� � Anne
      Hathaway's home was a 3 bedroom house with a small parlor, which was
      seldom used (only for company), kitchen, and no bathroom.
      ������� � Mother and Father shared a bedroom. Anne had a
      queen sized bed,
      but did not sleep alone. She also had 2 other sisters and they shared
      the bed also
      with 6 servant girls. (this is before she married) They didn't sleep
      like we do lengthwise but all laid on the bed crosswise. �����
      � � At least they had a bed. The other bedroom was shared by her 6
      and 30 field workers. They didn't have a bed. Everyone just wrapped up
      in their blanket and slept on the floor. They had no indoor heating so
      all the extra bodies kept them warm.
      ������� � They were also small people, the men only grew
      to be about 5'6"
      and the women were 4'8". SO in their house they had 27 people living.
      ����� � � Most people got married in June. Why? They took
      their yearly bath in
      May, so they were still smelling pretty good by June, although they were
      starting to smell, so the brides would carry a bouquet of flowers to
      hide their b.o.
      ������� � Like I said, they took their yearly bath in
      May, but it was just a big tub that they would fill with hot water. The
      man of the house would get 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 pretty thick. Thus, the
      saying, "don't throw the baby out with the bath water," it was so dirty
      you could actually lose someone in it.
      ����� � � I'll describe their houses a little. You've
      heard of thatch roofs, well
      that's all they were. Thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath.
      They were the only place for the little animals to get warm. So all the
      dogs, cats and other small animals, mice, rats, bugs, all lived in the
      roof. When it rained it became slippery so sometimes the animals would
      slip and fall off the roof. Thus the saying, "it's raining cats and
      ����� � � Since there was nothing to stop things from
      falling into the house they
      would just try to clean up a lot. But this posed a real problem in the
      bedroom where bugs and other droppings from animals could really mess up
      your nice clean bed, so they found if they would make beds with big
      posts and hang a sheet over the top it would prevent that problem.
      That's where those beautiful big 4 poster beds with canopies came from.
      ����� � � When you came into the house you would notice
      most times that the floor
      was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, that's where
      saying "dirt poor" came from. The wealthy would have slate floors. That
      fine but in the winter they would get slippery when they got wet. So
      they started to spread thresh on the floor to help keep their footing.
      As the winter wore on they would just keep adding it and adding it until
      when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. SO they
      put a piece of wood at the entry way, a "thresh hold".
      ������� � In the kitchen they would cook over the fire,
      they had a fireplace
      in the kitchen/parlor, that was seldom used and sometimes in the master
      bedroom. They had a big kettle that always hung over the fire and every
      day they would light the fire and start adding things to the pot.
      ����� � � Mostly they ate vegetables, they didn't get much
      meat. They would eat
      the stew for dinner then leave the leftovers in the pot to get cold
      and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew would have food in
      it that had been in there for a month! Thus the rhyme: peas porridge
      hot, peas
      porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old." �����
      � � Sometimes they could get a hold on some pork. They really felt
      when that happened and when company came over they even had a rack in
      the parlor where they would bring out some bacon and hang it to show it
      That was a sign of wealth and that a man "could really bring home the
      They would cut off a little to share with guests and they would all sit
      around and "chew the fat."
      ������� �
      If you had money your plates were made out of pewter. Sometimes some of
      their food had a high acid content and some of the lead would leach out
      the food. They really noticed it happened with tomatoes. So they stopped
      eating tomatoes, for 400 years.
      ������� � Most people didn't have pewter plates though,
      they all had trenchers,
      that was a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. They
      washed their boards and a lot of times worms would get into the wood.
      eating off the trencher with worms they would get "trench mouth." If you
      were going traveling and wanted to stay at an Inn they usually provided
      the bed but not the board.
      ������� �
      The bread was divided according to status. The workers would get the
      burnt bottom of the loaf, the family would get the middle and guests
      would get the top, or the "upper crust". ����� � � They
      also had lead cups and when they would drink their ale or whiskey. The
      combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. They
      would be walking along the road and here would be someone knocked out
      and they thought they were dead. So they would pick them up and take
      home and get them ready to bury. They realized if they were too slow
      about it, the person would wake up. Also, maybe not all of the people
      they were burying were dead. So they would lay them out on the kitchen
      table for a couple of days, the family would gather around and eat and
      drink and wait and see if they would wake up. That's where the custom of
      holding a "wake" came from.
      ����� � �
      Since England is so old and small they started running out of places to
      bury people. So they started digging up some coffins and would take
      their bones to a house and re-use the grave. They started opening these
      coffins and found some had scratch marks on the inside. �����
      � � One out of 25 coffins were that way and they realized they had
      still been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string
      on their wrist and lead 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 to listen for the bell. That is how the saying "graveyard shift"
      was made. If the bell would ring they would know that someone was "saved
      by the bell" or he was a "dead ringer".
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