Although I have never tried it, I can’t imagine that soap made from ashes and lye was very pleasant to use. I suppose that it worked alright on very dirty clothes and when those clothes were soaked in boiling water, the soap probably brought the ingrained dirt to the surface. I also don’t know for sure, but I assume that the hands that dipped into that scalding water and then were lathered up with the homemade soap were never, ever “party perfect.” Actually, washing clothes, dishes, pots and pans and children was never more than a weekly chore, and I imagine one of the reasons was it took forever and it burned the flesh right off your fingers!
When I was young, I must admit, that I never had to use that type of homemade soap… thank heaven! But I also don’t remember having the luxury of using wonderful creamy and flowery smelling soap either. Why my mother used Lava, I have no idea. Because of the grey color and the extraordinarily rough texture, it was called lava after the hot rock refuse that spews out of a volcano. I think the name alone should tell you that this was not soap that was used for pleasure. I think that it was used to scrub stuff off clothes, but I’m really not sure. I also remember my father using Lava to wash his hands after he worked on something very dirty or very greasy.
The other soap I remember is imprinted on my childhood like a brand or a tattoo. I don’t know the name of this soap, but I am sure many of you will remember it, too. It was a large bar of not really bright yellow soap, but sort of a rusty or mustardy yellow in color. It smelled bad and it was so rough on your skin that it was like a bar of Brillo. My mother thought that this soap should be used to clear up any and all skin conditions. I have vivid memories of standing at the kitchen sink and shrieking while she scrubbed (and the key word here is scrubbed) my entire body with that heinous soap. Bug bites, poison ivy, impetigo and just about anything she could think of had her searching for the yellow soap, and it wasn’t until we were bright red from her work with the soap that she stopped. And what was most interesting to note was that the bar of soap almost never got any smaller. I have no idea what it was made of, but you certainly got your money’s worth when you used it because it lasted for what seemed like an eternity
I don’t know if it is my childhood and my terrible memories of soap that has caused me to become a soap addict today. I love soap that is smooth, and probably more importantly, very fragrant. I adore soap that is sweet and soap that makes me feel very special. There is nothing I like better than showering with soap that has a scent that lingers and lets others know that I am neat, clean and smelling great. I never, ever want to smell like soap that can be used as detergent. I just can’t do it.
Now that I have admitted to my obsession with beautiful soap, let me ask you a question. Is there such a thing as super smelling soap that smells nice through the entire bar? When you have used it and it is now a small sliver, does it keep its fragrance? I don’t think so, at least none that I have found. And I don’t want you to think that I haven’t tried to find that “forever” bar. Now I must admit that I haven’t been anywhere to buy soap that was outrageously expensive. I tried to think what was the most expensive soap that I have bought, and I am sure that I have never spent more than $10. What do you think Queen Elizabeth spends on her soap? Or the other celebrities? I’m sure that they have soap that not only costs lots of money, it also lasts and smells great until the final bit is gone. Where do I buy one of those? And is there really such a thing?
If you know where to buy lovely and wonderful soap that doesn’t cost more than my car, please let me know. Oh, and my favorites are lily of the valley, lilac, rose and just about any fragrance that is overwhelmingly flowery. I know it doesn’t match my personality, but sometimes you just have to go with your fantasy.