Getting Clean, poetry by Susan Bocinec Terry at
United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs

Getting Clean

Getting Clean

written by: Susan Bocinec Terry



Soaking in an old
round wash tub
with my cousin,
in my aunt’s kitchen.
We were just kids
and it was such a
treat to get a bath
in one of those old tubs,
especially for me,
since I was a city girl.
My cousin was a grump,
don’t think she
liked me much,
but there we were
buck naked in
cold well water mixed
with heated well water.
We must have gotten
pretty dirty to get a bath,
otherwise you went without,
or as mother called it,
you gave yourself a
“whore house bath.”
Not sure what it
was called for kids.
As a kid you surely
wouldn’t call it that.
Just imagine.
Thankfully we
were only visiting.
I hated those visits
and the outhouses,
but I endured thinking
how bad it was for
my aunt and her girls.
Couldn’t wait until we
left the country for home.

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