General interesting facts for your use in your classroom!

History we never knew

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because
the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things
used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:

These are interesting...

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath
in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting
to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor,
hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the
house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons
and men, then the women and finally the children & last of all the babies.
By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence
the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood
underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the
cats, dogs and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it
rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the
roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This
posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could
mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung
over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into
existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt
hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get
slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help
keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until when
you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was
placed in the entrance way hence the saying a "thresh hold."

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle
that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things
to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They
would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold
overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had
been there for quite a while hence the rhyme, "Peas porridge hot, peas
porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite
special.

When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show
off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon." They
would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew
the fat."

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid
content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead
poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next
400years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom
of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper
crust."

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would
sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking
along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were
laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would
gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up
hence the custom of holding a "wake."

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of
places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the
bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1
out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they
realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string
onthe wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the
ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the
graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone
could be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer."

And that's the truth... Now, whoever said that History was boring!!!