Saturday, September 11, 2010

Be Grateful For Your Hot Water

What, you ask, does this have to do with WWI?

Well, consider the following letter, written by Richmonder Lt. Harold Calisch on September 26, 1918:
Baths are very infrequent occurrences. In fact, my first bath was an adventure. We found a sign “Bains” and went thru a tunnel into a very pretty court. Madame, the patronesse was also, “Caisse.” She was a typical looking Frence woman with her hair drawn tightly back into a knot. An apron the size of a dime and a greed the size of a dollar. A bath cost three francs. It included an old zinc tub, 2 towels, a bar of soap, a private bath room, comb and brush tied to Madame’s desk, a volume of hot water. This last made the big hit. I soaked thoroughly. They also gave me a rag which looked like a wash cloth so I used it as such. Afterward I found that it was to put on the floor to stand on. Really it was not a foot square….The French people are very picturesque. Their wooden shoes and the white caps of the women are particularly noticeable. In spite of their idea that all Americans are millionaires they are a great people.

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