Only on a Saturday.
The end of the week. We would be outside early evening playing hide and seek. A very large and old sycamore tree was home base. My older brother would count to three and we all would shout as loud and fast as we could, “not-it!” Whoever was the last or slowest to say not-it was ‘it ‘and the seeker of hiders. the rest of us were the hiders. So, the seeker would lean up against the home base tree and cover his or her eyes and count up to one hundred while the hiders scattered about hiding behind whatever we could hide behind. Never mind the seeker counting by fives…five, ten, fifteen etc. But anyway, we kids hid on the other side of my dad’s car, up on the porch behind the porch low wall, behind the front yard hedge, or wherever we could hide. Well never mind. You know how it goes. We would play hide and seek until dirt and sweat rolled down our arms and necks. Becoming most odorific. All in all, an activity our parents were thankful for getting us out of the house. Even just for a brief moment of peace and quiet. This respite Gave my dad time on Saturday evening to watch his favorite country swing band led by the fiddle playing Spade Cooley on our old Sears black and white TV. Cooley who later killed his wife in a drunken rage.
But anyway, again it was Saturday evening in East L A. And for we Okie kids it was bath night. Yes, bath night. For my brother and youngest sister and myself, this was the only time in the week we took a bath. However, when our neighbors and church folk discovered our once-a-week bathing, my mom insisted on a Wednesday bath as well. Remember we were Okies and Okies only bathed once a week on Saturday in a large galvanized tub near the wood burning stove. Much too much trouble to heat up water for the bath time and repeat one or two times later in the week. So, just one bath a week. At least until my folks moved to California. There we succumbed to cosmopolitan customs and the folkways of sophisticated Angelinos. My mother took up the habit of using deodorant and strong-smelling perfumes. So, we were slowly acclimating to the societal ways of metropolitan Los Angeles. Forget the third world southern rural Oklahoma with just one bath. Even my dad was introduced to Old Spice cologne. All in all, our social value came up a notch or two after bathing two or three times a week.
Plus, our membership status improved while attending church the next morning after a soapy Saturday night’s bathing. I sat with my mom and dad on the front row of pews. We became somebody. Sophisticated and converted Californians. Where’s my bar of Ivory soap?