Times When Pa Ogburn Demanded Absolute Quiet
There there were two occasions when, my dad (Pa Ogburn) demanded absolute quiet from us kids when we were playing around the room especially when it was bad weather that kept us in the house. You see, in the old house we had to use the rooms for multiple things because we didn’t have an excess of rooms. These two times were, when he was shaving, and when he was listening to the evening news. He said that any noise especially that made by us youngsters made him nervous caused him to cut himself while he was shaving. Well anyway, we got the blame most of the time, and sometimes it was rightly deserved. In any case he was prone to cut himself lots so we got lots of the blaming and a visit from the razor strap most of the time. There are many times when I got a razor strap on my rear end, deserved or not, and in most cases it made me grow up better. I think the most kids need something like this for their health and education these days. That’s what’s probably wrong with our youngsters today is that they haven’t had a razor strap applied to their backside (my speculation as an old curmudgeon). Dad shaved with the old-style Gillette blades, double edged blades, and I can still visualize him screwing that saver apart, putting a blade in and screwing it back together again. This was quite an operation. This would appear primitive by today’s standards but it was an improvement over the old straight edged razor. I think he would have probably cut himself to death by that time if he had continued to use his old straight edge razor especially after he had a family and kids and became so nervous.
He kept his shaving paraphernalia on the mantle over the old fireplace in his and Mom’s bedroom. To get his water would have to go out to the backpourch and dip it out of the water bucket and then take it to the stove or the fireplace and heat it. Most of the time mama would do that for him. If the water bucket was out then someone would have to draw it out of the well. After I became big enough it became my job to keep the water bucket filled. So you see, back in those days one could not just turn a tap and get hot water or any water for that matter. I think we tend to take this very much for granted these days. Well getting back to Dads shaving paraphernalia he had a mug with a brush in it with which he would lather up his face with a cake of shaving soap in the bottom of the mug. He stirred up a lather with the brush on the soap and then slathered it onto his face. If I close my eyes I can still hear the handle of that shaving brush knocking against that old porcelain cup. But for that day and time the Gillette double edge was the cutting edge of technology when it came to shaving.
One thing that still remains in my memory was the “razor strop” and my Dad’s ability to use it, not to sharpen razors but to apply discipline to my rear end. He kept his razor strap hanging just inside the closet in his bedroom where he could reach around the corner and lay his hands on it. He was certainly known to use it in short order with very little previous notice. The closet had no door just a hanging curtin in front of it and you just pushed it aside and got whatever you wanted out of the closet. Just inside the closet door will was were mom on her ragbag. The ragbag was a bag that was hanging up and she would cut up pieces of cloth out of clothes no longer usable and make rags out of them. They served the same purpose as bath cloths do today. One thing that stands out in my mind was “sear cloths” that she made with some of those rags. When we had a very bad cold or flu she would put Vic Salve on a square made from the rag and hang it around our neck. The vapour from the Vic’s salve would soak into our chest and help our cold. This is just part of the frugality that Mama Ethel practiced. Believe me, we did not have anything to waste and we did not throw away much.
The other time when Dad demanded absolute silence was when was when the news was on. We did not have round-the-clock news in those days just five minutes in the morning or evening with Gabriel Heatter was the news that we had at the time. But when it did come up on for those five minutes Monday want to hear every word of it. He did want to be listening to noise that kids would be making. Gabriel Heatter had a great sounding voice and it was very sombre, sounded like he was speaking as the voice of God to us kids. News casts of these days have very little deep content which made them the very antithesis of news back then. Just about everyone here in the South especially the rural part always listend to Gabriel heater discussed what he said they waited to listen to them the next time. He gave it is the worst disasters in various other things but he had one thing that he always said at the beginning of his newscast, “there is good news tonight.” That is unless there was bad news and then he could just substitute a good for a bad.
And that’s a little bit about Pa Ogburn.