Your Parents made you Eat Soap?!

     I wonder if kids today get to enjoy or be tormented with the same things I faced as a child.
     After hearing a coworkers streak of vile language at work the other day (Over something that was really not worth using three pieces of profanity in one sentence) I muttered to my other coworker
    “Guess his parents never washed his mouth out with soap as a child”
    This much younger than me coworker looked at me in shock
   “Your parents made you eat soap when you were a kid?”
    Yes they did. When I was twelve I said the MF word and I can still to this day taste the disgusting bar of Dove I had to stick in my mouth for a minute.
    My parents also spanked us when we were bad, and you know what? My brothers and I all turned out pretty good. With these lessons my parents taught us that with bad behavior comes punishment.
   Maybe that’s why none of their kids ever got involved with drugs or ended up in jail?
   We also learned that you never, ever pull Dad’s finger.
    I was also talking to another coworker last night about how I was having “growing pains” in my leg (Even though I’m a thirty two year old woman and I should be at my absolute height, right?) and my coworker told me he had never heard about growing pains.
   Was this just a term my parents came up with?
   I was talking to younger coworkers about these child hood memories (Pulling Dad’s finger was definitely burned into my memory) and they looked at me appalled.
   Your legs hurt and your parents didn’t take you to the doctor?
   Your parents made you eat soap?
   You got spanked?!
   It is interesting how different it was growing up a child of the eighties not because of the He Man toys or the Cabbage Patch Dolls but how the world has changed since than.
    There was one kid in my first grade class who was allergic to peanuts. Now it seems like every single child is allergic to either gluten or dairy. If I was ten now and not thirty two would my “growing pains” be attributed to my gluten intake? 
   My childhood was not all bad. Our family did not have a lot of money and on hot summer days when it was about eighty five in our alpine mountain town I would make my own pool out of trash cans.
    I would wash out the trash cans thoroughly first. Than fill up my plastic trash can with a garden house. It didn’t seem abnormal to me to do this, although looking back, I guess none of the other kids on my block hung out in trash cans.
   I told my friends this story about ten years ago and to this day they mock me fiercely  for my trash can pool good times.
   It’s a good thing I don’t have kids; I’d still have them pull my finger.


  1. Zoe

    I thought this was a product of age. My parents ascribed to soap and growing pains as well but I am considerably older than you. Perhaps you have older siblings???

  2. cynk

    Isn’t it funny how there is all of this instant access to information today, but that doesn’t mean that youth today know it all. It makes me a little sad how they will miss out on so many real experiences now that technology creates virtual ones.


    It seems that too many parents want their kids to be happy. My parents wanted me to turn into a productive and responsible member of society. Yay to the 80’s, spankings and all.
    We went “swimming” in the sprinkler on our farm.

  4. opinion8dhermit

    Why did I never think of trash can swimming? I would run through the sprinklers until my mom banned me, due to trudging in water into the house. So I wore garbage bags to keep dry. I helped my dad set off gunpowder bombs to entertain my friends in first grade (I lost a lot of new friends…scared them off). We didn’t have cable usually, and didn’t have a remote control or computer till 1996. For chores, by age 10, I cooked meals, took out garbage, cleaned cars, vacuumed, dusted, cleaned cat and dog poo, dishes, weeding. I built forts with hammer and nails, climbed 100 foot trees, rode bikes, wagons, skateboards down steep inclines without a helmet, drank from the hose, and used power tools. People are often shocked by this but they are the best memories. While my hippy parents would and did never spank, they gave the silent treatment and groundings. No lee-way either. I once wrote “bastard” on a note which I stuck to my fort when someone had stolen my nails and I was grounded for two weeks. This was 5th grade and I hear parents actually think it is cute when a three year old cusses. I couldn’t date till 16 and couldn’t dress “slutty”, talk back, or so anythng kids do.
    So I “get” you but maybe mountain life, not just 80s life, is different? I dunno.

  5. Robbie K

    I found myself in a conversation today with an 80s year old man about how much times and expectations have changed. The last line about pulling your finger was a hoot.

  6. 106250781196036917170

    OMG!!! It must be an 80’s thing, because my sister and I used to fill up the trash cans too! We spent hours hanging out in them when it was hot out. Thanks for the walk down memory lane. 😀

  7. SouthMainMuse

    The trash can thing made me laugh. Just this morning my 9yo and 12yo were recounting the times in their academic career that they had been sent to the “time-out room”. I countered with how in my day there was a large paddle hanging in the principal’s office. And that it was used. I too was spanked and had soap cramped in my mouth. After I had told my mother to shut up. Only did that once.

  8. Joe

    Kellie and I have been discussing the idea of getting a hot tub and your garbage can pool story has given me a good idea. I can’t wait to tell Kellie about it.

  9. Vanessa D

    I don’t even remember getting many spankings – just knowing they could happen was usually enough incentive to behave.

    I had a plastic wading pool – we used to put it on a concrete pad beside the cistern and jump into it from the top of the cistern. Six inches of water did little to cushion the landing.

  10. mutterschwester

    I’m not sure they are so different – and I grew up in the 70’s. The allergy thing is higher, but we also have more awareness – which makes it seem more. People who aren’t allergic also hop on the bandwagon in order to get “healthy.”

    There is more excess, I suppose. AND a 24/7 news cycle. They have to make a big deal out of everything or there’s nothing to talk about! Lots of people I know have kids with “growing pains” and whatnot – split lips, cracked foreheads, lost teeth – and most of it just goes under the bridge. Or maybe my town is just a bubble in today’s reality.

    I don’t know – I think every generation says things were so different back then. I’m sure this one will say the same thing – growing pains or no.

  11. Ann Bennett

    I was a kid in the 60s, so there. Except I don’t know where there is I’m so old. Enjoyed your story and the swimming pool. We dug a deep hole in the backyard as a kid. When we went to fill it, the water just disappeared. Such a sad day.

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