A history lesson

Discussion in 'ten-forward' started by bigbuck, Oct 26, 2004.

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  1. bigbuck

    bigbuck Registered Member

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    The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be.
    Here are some facts about the 1500s:

    Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting
    married.

    Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

    Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip off the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

    There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top, afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds
    came into existence.

    The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet , so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway.
    Hence the saying a "thresh hold."

    (Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

    In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew
    had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."

    Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."

    Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leak onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

    Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper crust."

    Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a "wake."

    England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would
    tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer."

    And that's the truth... Now, whoever said that History was boring ! ! !
     
  2. Mr.Blaze

    Mr.Blaze The Newbie Welcome Wagon

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    so did your daughters finaly stop complaining about no hot water in shower lol :D
     
  3. bigbuck

    bigbuck Registered Member

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    My daughter USES all the HW..........I'm the one that does all the complaining around here......

    Ps. Don't need HW much at this time of year.......38 degrees C here today!!

    Cheers.
     
  4. Rita

    Rita Infrequent Poster

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    Hi Bigbuck
    what an interesting lesson.I always wondered where those all sayings came from :D delightful!
    Rita
     
  5. bigbuck

    bigbuck Registered Member

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    Some More...........


    Strange Phrases - So Now You Know

    In George Washington's days, there were no cameras. One's image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk
    with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted.
    Arms and legs are "limbs" therefore painting them would cost the buyer more. Hence the expression "Okay, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg."

    *****************************
    As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year!

    (May and October).Women kept their hair co! vered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. The wigs couldn't be washed so to clean them, they could carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term "big wig."

    Today we often use the term "here comes the Big Wig" because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.

    *****************************

    In the late 1700s many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board was folded down from the wall and used for dining. The "head of the household" always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Once in a while an invited guest would be offered to sit in this chair during a meal (who was almost always a man). To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge.
    Sitting in the chair, one was called the "chair man." Today in business we use the expression/title "Chairman, or Chairman of the Board."

    *****************************
    Needless to say, personal hygiene left much room for improvement. As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee's wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to stare at another woman's face she was told "mind your own bee's wax."

    Should the woman smile, the wax would crack, hence the term "crack a smile."
    Also, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt and therefore the expression "losing face."

    *****************************

    Ladies wore corsets which would lace up in the front. A tightly tied lace was worn by a proper and dignified lady as in "straight laced."

    **************************
    Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the "ace of spades." To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren't "playing with a full deck."

    *****************************

    Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what was considered important to the people. Since there were no telephones, TV's or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs and bars who were told to "go sip some ale" and listen to people's conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times.

    "You go sip here" and "You go sip there." The two words "go sip" were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and thus, we have the term "gossip."
    *****************************

    At local taverns, pubs and bars, people drank from pint and quart sized containers. A bar maid's job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in "pints" and who was drinking in "quarts."
    Hence the term "minding your 'P's and Q's."

    Revived from Hunter 8-5-03
    (Regarding today's "Strange Phrases", I was always told Minding your P's and Q's was a common phrase around old typeset printing presses. When typeset was laid one letter at a time, the apprentices would often mix up the letters p and q because everything was being placed in reverse. Thus the phrase.)

    So now you know....
     
  6. bigbuck

    bigbuck Registered Member

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    The rumoured origin of the expression "It's cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey", goes a little something like this:

    In the days when gulf wars had more to do with sailing ships than TV coverage, cannon balls were stacked on the decks in pyramids. The pyramids were held in place by a brass frame around the base, called a "monkey". When it got cold, the brass monkey contracted, and the cannon balls rolled off around the ship's deck.
     
  7. Marja

    Marja Honestly, I'm not a bot!!

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    Those are some great posts, BigBuck!!

    I love to learn how sayings come about, history can be really interesting if the "teacher" makes it come ALIVE!!

    Unfortunately, for us, most teachers didn't and don't have the time, or worse, the imagination to do so!

    Thanks for posting those stories, I am going to have fun telling them to my nieces and nephews! LOL!! They will never believe them!

    Marja:cool:
     
  8. bigbuck

    bigbuck Registered Member

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    Cheers Marja :D
     
  9. bigbuck

    bigbuck Registered Member

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    Old Sayings, and Where They Came From

    1. In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase "Goodnight, sleep tight."

    2. It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, or what we know today as the honeymoon.

    3. In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down. It's where we get the phrase "Mind your P's and Q's."

    4. Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim or handle of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle" is the phrase inspired by this practice.

    5. In Scotland, a new game was invented. It was called Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden .... and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.

    I don't believe no.5!
     
  10. no13

    no13 Retired Major Resident Nutcase

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    Wouldn't YOU like to know?
    Ahh... the pubs of olde england...
    where Guiness Book of World records is said to have been conceived over a glass of Guiness...
    where the word quiz was invented on a dare...
    BTW: Mind your P's and Q's ... wasn't P for Please and Q for Thank You (Thank Q) ... thereby indicating to li'l kids that manners were important?
    you mayn't believe no5... but you do believe no13, don't ya?
     
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