Lorene Andris, Mother: Learning about health
My first toothbrush
Annie Seargeant was my first grade teacher. Lola Beagle, city health nurse, whose father started Beagle's drug store, came in to Ms. Seargeant's class and taught her students how to brush their teeth. She had a brown sack of toothbrushes. She gave the girls their first choice of toothbrush. A lot of girls took red, and the boys took what was left, mostly blue or green. Each child also got a little tube of Colegate toothpaste.
So I took the toothbrush and toothpaste, and got a glass of water out of the pump, because we didn't have water in the house. I was on back porch brushing my teeth, just like Lola Beagle had showed me when my dad came over and said What are you doing?" I explained it to him. He was amazed, and he was impressed by me. He talked to mom (Lorene's mother, Clara). It wasn't long after that he went to drug store and got toothbrushes. He and mom were brushing their teeth the next week. This was in September of 1920. I was six. My daddie died the next year.
Keeping the dishrags clean
We had always used our wash cloths and towels over and over again without washing them, and I didn't like that. We made our own soap out of lye, and when the wash cloth got the soap on it, it smelled bad, like lye. I never washed my face with the wash cloth, just with my hands.
In the 7th grade I was still down at Willard School because they were still building the new junior high school. In the 8th grade at the junior high I took Mary McGraner's home economics class. She taught us that there were germs on the wash cloth, and not to use them twice without washing them.
So I went home and told this to my grandma Noe, who lived with mom and me. I explained what Miss McGraner had told us and that there were germs on the used wash rags. Grandma and mother aked what a germ was. I said they were something you couldn't see unless you had a microscope. Then grandma said "What's a microscope?" So I explained that it was something that you could use to see the germs.
After that, Grandma Noe got out a pair of old used long underwear and made dishrags out of them. She even put red twine around them as edging.