Saturday, May 05, 2007

Do you remember Grandma's lye soap?

“Hog killing was a value for rendering out your lard and make your cracklings and we use the scraps to make soap out of. The way we made lye was everybody had an ash hopper. It’s a big square box and you put all your ashes in it that you take out of the fireplace.

“You put it where you tilt it just so water runs in and drips out at one side and it makes lye. We use lye to render the husks from hominy and also to make lye with. And when the men folks decide to tan a hide, to make leather, the lye was used to remove the hair and everything off of it.

“Lye was a very important thing. You’d use tallow to waterproof stuff with. You’d do your washing on a washboard with lye soap. I can remember Octagon soap and powered soaps…they were the first ones I could remember.”

Hazel Farmer
Union County, GA Interviewed by Martha Clement June 2005

"Grandma's Lye Soap"
John Standley and Art Thorson, 1952

Do you remember grandma's lye soap
Good for everything in the home
And the secret was in the scrubbing
It wouldn't suds and couldn't foam

Then let us all sing right out of grandma's
Of grandma's lye soap
Used for, for everything
Everything on the place
For pots and kettles
The dirty dishes
And for your hands and for your face

Shall we now sing the second verse
Let's get it with great exuberance, let's live it up
It's not raining inside tonight
Everyone, let's have a happy time
Are we ready
All together, the second verse

Little Herman and brother Thurman
Had an aversion to washing their ears
Grandma scrubbed them with the lye soap
And they haven't heard a word in years

Then let us all sing right out of grandma's
Of grandma's lye soap
Sing all out, all over the place
The pots and kettles, the dirty dishes
And also hands and also f.....
(clapping fades)

Well, let's sing what's left of the last verse
Let's have a happy time, everyone
The last verse, al-l-l-l together
Ev-v-v-very one

Mm-m-m-m, thank you kindly, kindly
M-m-mrs, O'Malley, out in the valley
Suffered from ulcers, I understand
She swallowed a cake of grandma's lye soap
Has the cleanest ulcers in the land

Then let us all sing right out of grandma's
Of grandma's lye soap
Sing right out, all over the place
The pots and, the pots and pans, oh dirty dishes
And the hands.

Originally blogged at Appalachian History


Anonymous said...

Thank you for bringing back that moment of innocent fun. I was a tyke at the time and had never heard of exuberance before. Or lye soad, for that matter.
Last week I bought a cake at Tommy Pope's hardward store off Highway 15-501. $5.29. Imagine.

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Anonymous said...

I used to just love that song. The flip side of the single was Mary had a little lamb, reviewed just as Bill Engal would have done.

Women Leather Blazer said...

Thank you for bringing back that moment of innocent fun.

Anonymous said...

In 1957 ,due to the Arab - Isreli war I was brought home from the Malayan war on an Italian immigrant ship, the Aurelia via South Africa.The ship only had 5 english speaking records which were played non stop all day. Granma's Lye soap was one of those records and I've loved it ever since.