Months To Years Summer 2018 MTY_Summer2018_v7 - Page 39

hot water with my husband just for fun.  I will come in to find him dead in bed or slumped at the table or motionless in his napping chair. This tub was used on my grandparent’s farm for washing clothes and bodies from 1924 to 1935, give or take.  Then At home scrubbing this tub the size of a beer cooler, I it spent perhaps another 15 years in the barn, occasionally can’t help but say out loud: Adults bathed here.  I imagine brought out to hold ice and beer or to make ice cream my grandparents’ lean bodies during those Depression in the summer.  Was that when Grandpa Pete wrote his years on the farm when they birthed four children in five name on the tub? Did he loan it out to neighbors? years.   Babies and toddlers, two at a time, soaked in this tub.  In the winter it was surely placed in front of the wood- My grandparents moved to town around 1950, to a house burning kitchen stove.  In the summer it was out in the with indoor plumbing.  The tub moved with them.  Was it grass, just before the fields began. As the kids got older, filled with grandchildren’s toys?  Was it a vegetable bin? the youngest bathed first, then more hot water poured At some point, it was handed down to my dad, before from the tea kettle, another child, more water.  I see now: or after his father died.  Then it was stored in Dad’s a family tradition. garage rafters for as long as I can remember, holding only he knows what.  Camping gear?  Strings of tangled I scrub and think of Dad’s story: how he once farted Christmas lights? Styrofoam plates?  I’d like to think Dad during a bath, and his older brother Jim cried because he was drawn to this artifact’s story, as I am, though most did not want to dip even a toe into that same water.  Their likely back then he took anything his father offered him mother, who carried a leather strap on her apron to punish for his own garage—Dad’s domain.  He built it himself naughty boys or maybe just for crowd control, refused in 1967, the year before I was born.  For most of my life, to give Jim new water.  He went two weeks without a he escaped there, to tinker or fix or just get away from a bath.  Jim was “Jimmy” then; Dad was “Joey”—“Irish twins” nagging wife and eight boisterous kids.  This washtub was born 53 weeks apa