12/5/08

It's December 5th. Do You Know What That Means? (It Has to Do with the Bathtub!)

So, it’s December and you think of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as the holidays, right?
Well, today is December 5th, and you know what that means, don’t you?

It’s officially “Bathtub Party Day,” an actual observance.
I don’t know who started this observance or why. Perhaps, many years ago, since it was almost Christmas, it was time for the yearly bath. I was being somewhat facetious with that comment, although many years ago, men and women took baths only twice a year, in May and in October.

Apparently bathtubs have been around a long time in various forms. I love the looks and style of a claw-foot tub. These tubs seem so -- well, I don’t know what. Special? Elegant? Luxurious?
Anyway, I don’t plan to have a party or celebrate “Bathtub Party Day,” but the observance gives me a chance to pass along a few interesting tidbits of information.

Do you know which president got stuck in a bathtub? It was William Taft.
There are several accounts of the episode with slight variations. Taft weighed in the range of 330 – 340 pounds; he got stuck in the White House bathtub and it took either four or six men (depending on the account) to dislodge him from the tub.
Following this embarrassing situation, Taft had a new tub installed in the White House. It was 7 feet long; the width was 3 feet, 7 inches. That is a BIG tub!! Four men got into the tub together for a picture.
Taft didn’t quit making the news once he left the White House. The following appeared in The New York Times in 1915:

CAPE MAY, N.J., June 18. -- Ex-President Taft, who came here yesterday as the guest of the Pennsylvania Bankers' Association, took a bath in his apartments in the Hotel Cape May. He failed properly to consider the size of the average seashore hotel bathtub, however, with the result that when he got into the tub the water overflowed and trickled down upon the heads of the guests in the dining room.

Harry Truman made bathtub news as well. According to PlumbingWorld.com, “President Truman's bathtub had a hidden message carved in glass on the backside which read: ‘In this tub bathes the man whose heart is always clean and serves his people truthfully.’ The author was a glass carver who was commissioned to design the glass panels of five tubs.”

The earliest presidents, by the way, bathed in the Potomac River. This included John Quincy Adams. Again, according to PlumbingWorld.com, “(The)poor man [Adams], 'weather permitting,' rose and took his plunge in the Potomac between daybreak and sunrise. This had its hardships. On one occasion, someone made off with his clothes and he had to shout until he attracted the attention of a small boy, who ran to the White House for more."
Enough about presidents.

One of my all-time favorite poems has to do with a bathtub, even a party of sorts.
No, it's not "Rub-a-Dub Dub, Three Men in a Tub"; instead, it’s one by Shel Silverstein:
There's too many kids in this tub
There's too many elbows to scrub
I just washed a behind that I'm sure wasn't mine
There's too many kids in this tub.

Happy Bathtub Party Day to all! Go get your rubber ducky and celebrate!

3 comments:

Hootin' Anni said...

National Bathtub Party Day!!! I hate to put it this way....seems like a pun on words maybe, but if this is what it takes to make the day truly an event....count me IN!!

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I love to have company. You made my day. Have a great weekend.

PJ said...

Now there's a holiday I didn't know about!! I had hear the first of Taft's stories -- stuck in the White House tub..but not the hotel one!!

And Shel Silverstein!! Now there's a poet! Love his stuff. (I also like more serious stuff, but for today....Silverstein reigns!)

Bathtubs For You said...

Hi Sherry,

Thank you for enlightening us about December 5th - we are bathtub enthusiasts but had no idea. It's also the day our son Markus was born!

Regards,

-Lukas

 
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