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When were those ‘Good Old Days’?

When were those good old days we remember so nostalgically?

Most of us wonder.

It seems to change depending on the age of the respondent.

I’ve come to believe that it is typically one generation past from that which the respondent personally experienced or had related to them.

I think, when we use it, we are actually remembering the good related to us and remembered that rather than everything we actually experienced? It is good for us to remember the better rather than the bad.

A friend who often reads my column brought me a two-page document that seems to verify that.

See what you think. For true believers in the “good old days,” this column is going to give them second thoughts.

The title of the document he handed me was “Where did the term ‘piss poor’ come from? And here are the answers:

In the 1500s, the tanneries used urine to tan animal skins. So family members used to all pee in a pot. When the pot was full, they took it and sold it to the tannery. The poorest of the poor didn’t even have a pot to pee in.

Here are some other facts about the 1500s. Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they usually still smelled pretty good in June. Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide body odor and so they smelled pretty good. Hence the flower custom and marriage customs that continue today.

One custom that wouldn’t go over big today is bathing or relative lack thereof. A big tub was used. Filled with heated water, the man of the house went first, then all the other sons and men — then, the women and children. Finally, the babies, but the water was so dirty by then that you could lose something in it. The saying followed that still exists today: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”

Bread was a very important part of the diet and was passed out according to status. Workers got the burned bottom of the bread, the family got the middle and the guests got the top or the upper crust. Now you know how the term “upper crust” came about.

There is much more in the two-page document, but is there any present day concern over the good old days?

Looking far back in history leaves us appreciating our lot in this nation at this period of time. Thankfully, we have come to see women having the right to vote and slaves having freedom in this land of the people, by the people and for the people should not perish from the earth as Lincoln said.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could rejuvenate the deterioration of real wages and job security before the days of outsourcing?

It still isn’t perfect, but when we view the Far East problems and the growing religious conflict between the Sunni axis supported by the Saudis, the Saudi axis supported by Iran and both supported by a variety of neighboring countries having similar conflicts.

We can count our good luck.

One closing remark about the author of this piece: He doesn’t have to wait for his good old days — he’s there right now.

Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at bernie3024@