When Saturday nights rolled around on Piney Ridge Road of Remington, Virginia in 1958, we knew exactly what time it was. That’s right, it was bath time! The greater part of our childhood was spent without the conveniences of an indoor bathroom. We had indoor and outdoor running water, but no indoor bathroom facilities. Even living under those stark conditions, we were well fed, well kept and received regular baths. Our mother gave all of us a bath every Saturday night, rain or shine, whether we needed it or not. (I’ll leave it to your imagination as to whether you think we needed it). In keeping with this weekly tradition, there was another even more legendary tradition started during that time. One of my siblings, I’m sworn to secrecy as to which one, became infamous for her shenanigans during this ritual. My mother would announce bath time and begin making preparations for it by bringing in the galvanized steel, round wash tub that sat against the house just outside the back porch door. A foot tub was used to heat water on the stove and fill the tub. This was before we ever thought about getting a water heater. The round, galvanized tub served only two purposes, one: it was used for rinsing clothes on laundry day and two: it was used for the washing of our little hindpots every week. (I’ll bet you haven’t heard that used in a while)
The first child in the tub was considered the lucky one because he or she got to use clean, fresh water. Everyone else had to share some or all of someone else’s used water. I thought we were unique in reusing bath water until one night at about bath time, which happened to be about the time Gunsmoke came on TV. I saw Chester do the same thing. He was itching and scratching so hard from his own stink and dirt that he opted to use the left behind bath water of a total stranger, rather than wait for the barber to clean the tub and add fresh water. Yes, the barber also ran the local bath house in Dodge City. In our case, most often, we not only shared tub water but we also shared the tub. There was usually no less than two of us taking a bath at a time during our early years. Luckily, dad added on a bedroom and a bathroom addition onto the house while most of us were still relatively young. Mom would go through the washing routine of each child and save the most difficult job for last, that job was getting my sister, [REDACTED], into the tub.
“Little Naked” never wanted to take a bath and did everything she could to avoid it. Why did we call her Little Naked? It’s pretty simple, no matter how hard mom held onto her, as soon as the last stitch of clothing came off, Little Naked would squirm, pull away and break herself free. Once she was out of her mother’s grasp, she’d immediately begin chasing us around the house, hands flailing wildly and feet going a mile a minute. We would be screaming, running, laughing, hiding and yelling “Oh No! Here comes Little Naked!”. All of us kids scattered in every direction trying to get away from her. You couldn’t let Little Naked touch you! She smelled too bad by the end of the week and you didn’t want any of it rubbing off on you. So we ran as fast as we could to get away from her. Eventually my mother would catch up to her and finally wrestle her into the bath tub. But for what seemed like years, we had a heck of a time on Saturday nights trying to get away from our “Little Naked”.
Well, that’s the short and sweet of it. I’m sorry I couldn’t divulge the name, and I don’t know where she lives to this day. As the legend goes, she left home one Saturday night, running naked through the woods, yelling and screaming frantically and has never been seen again. She probably ended up somewhere out west, happily married with 8 kids and a dog. I wonder though, do you think she still runs around the house buck naked to this day, chasing her husband and kids on Saturday nights? I can hear them all now, “Oh No! Here comes Big Naked!”