Washing and haircuts

My brother Jim.

We had to wash in a bowl in the sink in the back kitchen, often in cold water. I cannot remember cleaning my teeth with a toothbrush. We put some cooking salt in the palm of our hand, dipped a forefinger in and rubbed our teeth and gums with it.

Dad always cut the boys' hair, but he was against me having my locks cut off when the fashion became a 'bob'. I often asked him to cut my long curls off, or let me go to the nearby barber to have it done. One evening, I think I was in my early teens, Dad gave in to my latest plea and at 8-00am next morning I was sitting in the barber's chair. No more plaits or lost ribbons! After that, Dad trimmed my hair regularly. On the occasion he took too much off, I joined the fashion of having a 'semi-shingle' or even an 'Eton crop'.

Two more incidents come readily to mind

Mother had gone to hospital to visit Dad and had left me in charge. I asked Gilbert to do something and he refused. So I chased him into the yard. Gilbert started to climb back into the house through an open window, so I seized a broom and threatened him with it. I then threw it at him, but my aim was poor and the broom crashed through a pane of glass. More explanations necessary when mother returned!

Another time I was left in charge, I got engrossed in a book and let the fire go out. As this was our only source of heat I endeavored to revive it with the aid of some paraffin. The ensuing blaze set the chimney on fire and a neighbour had to come to the rescue and shovel loads of red hot soot into the yard. Chimney fires were an offence, but as the chimney had been recently swept it should not have happened. Mom was very upset on her return and could not understand why we had had a chimney fire. My youngest brother told her. 'When the fire went out, Mollie poured some water on it and lighted a match.' The 'water' was indeed paraffin.

My brother Cyril.

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