Monday, November 9, 2015

Memories of an Antique Clawfooted Tub

Growing up, the house we lived in had been built in the late 1800's. Though it was two stories and had four bedrooms, it only had 1 1/2 bathrooms: a half bath under the staircase and a full bathroom upstairs. The full bath didn't have a shower; it only had an antique, claw-footed tub. The tub was painted white, inside and out, but the outside paint had peeled off in places. Surprisingly I have many memories centered on that old tub.

Me (age 2) & my baby brother in the antique tub
My sister, brother, and I were 3 "stair step" children. My sister, the oldest, was almost 2 years older then me; and I was almost two years older than my baby brother. When we were very young, my mom would pile all 3 of us in the tub at one time to give us a bath and wash our hair.

In the summers when we were a little older, my mom would put us in the tub in our swimsuits to "cool down" before our naps. One day, she put us in the tub and went downstairs to take care of something. She heard lots of giggling and laughing and screaming. She went through the entryway, directly below the tub, to see what was going on. She saw water pouring down the wall by the front door! We had discovered how to use the back end of the tub as a giant slide. It sure could make a splash!

Well, one Sunday morning, we heard a noise in the attic running back and forth across the ceiling. The door to the attic was in the upstairs bathroom; it just had a trapdoor without any stairs. There was a piece of wood you'd push up and over and then you'd have to use a ladder to get into the attic. My dad decided to fill the tub with water, open the attic door, close the door to the bathroom, and check on the situation when we got back from church. When we got back, my dad found a terrified squirrel in the bathroom. I always thought he found it in the tub, but my mom said he was caught in the window shade trying to get out. My dad was able to catch the squirrel in a towel and took him outside. Perhaps in shock, the squirrel climbed up into our big oak tree and just sat there staring at us for a very long time.

Strangely enough, the bathroom was at the front of the house with a window over the tub facing the street. We didn't have central air-conditioning, so we often had the frosted window partially open to catch any breeze. If you peeked out the window, you could see what was happening all the way up and down our street. And, you could hear conversations in our front yard!

My mom always told us not to bathe whenever there was a storm; the lightning could electrocute us. When I was about 8 years old, I was going through confirmation class at our church. We went to a Baptist church, so we often heard the gospel. We were told that we were all sinners, that Jesus had died for our sins, and that to go to heaven we had to accept Jesus as our Savior. I'd wanted to accept Jesus as my Savior for quite awhile. But, I was dreadfully shy! In our church, you had to walk down the aisle to profess your faith. The very idea of this had me petrified.

That night, it started thundering and lightning while I was in the tub. I finally realized that I could actually die that very night. And, that without Jesus as my Savior, I would go to hell. So, in that tub, I bowed my head, confessed myself as a sinner, and asked Jesus to come into my heart. And, yes, I walked the aisle the next Sunday!

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