Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

An environmentalist speaks out about dirty socks and underwear July 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:23 AM
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Remember that segment by Art Linkletter on his 1950s -1960s television show, House Party? He would interview kids who responded with “the darndest things.”

Well, recently my 8 ½-year-old nephew Christian produced a comment that would be Art Linkletter worthy.

Here’s how the scenario played out. When Christian’s mom, Jamie, went to do the laundry, she discovered that her son had dropped only one pair of socks and three underwear into the basket of dirty clothes for the week.

For illustration purposes, please pretend that these dirty socks belong to my 8 1/2-year-old nephew instead of the two big-footed guys in my household.

“I knew he wore socks (and hopefully underwear) every day, so I asked him about it,” she says.

Well, Christian had it all figured out. He explained that he would only change his socks and undergarments on bath nights (Wednesdays and Saturdays) to help save the environment. But that’s not all. His mom wouldn’t have to do the laundry as often.

Now how can you argue with a thoughtful environmentalist like that?

Clearly, when you’re the mom, you can. Jamie instructed Christian that he needed to change his socks and his underwear daily.

Well, I have a little secret, which you probably shouldn’t share with my sister-in-law and certainly not my nephew. When I was growing up, I did not change my underwear and socks every day. It just wasn’t done.

And, get this, my siblings, parents and I bathed once a week—on Saturday night in an old tin tub in the kitchen—whether we needed a bath or not.

Isn’t that just the darndest thing?

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


4 Responses to “An environmentalist speaks out about dirty socks and underwear”

  1. Lanae Says:

    Life was so much simpler way back then. I think Brian still has the tin tub. After my poor little butt got burned on the oil burning stove, my memories of the bath weren’t so good. I much preferred the showers on the patch of grass out in front of the house with the hose stuck through the kitchen window.
    Those were the days!!!!!! Love your sister Lanae

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Lanae, I still think of those summer showers, best taken when someone was guarding the end of the driveway and when no airplanes were flying overhead (like there were ever any planes in that part of Minnesota anyway).

  2. Oh yes, those were the days. I remember helping with those baths. Not strange to me! Of course that was how I grew up. If I remember correctly, Rae, John and I had to use the same water. A bit cold for the third person!! Water heated on the old corn cob heated cook stove. Until we got the water heater. But no indoor plumbing for us! And now we have three complete bathrooms!! Love, Aunt Dorothy

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Those were the days, huh? Such memories. Most people my age find it hard to believe that I grew up without modern conveniences like an indoor bathroom. Maybe that’s why I’m quite content with only one bathroom today.

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