The 1970’s and early 80’s saw some of the bitterest, bone-chilling winters in middle Tennessee. Our house was part log, part 1910 clapboard siding, and part new construction. Picture the movie Deliverance and you’ve got the idea. Trying to stay warm was a full-time venture. My mother worried most about my sister, then three, that first year.
Dad enveloped the inside of the house with stapled clear plastic to help lessen the indoor Arctic breezes. There was a wood-burning stove in the living room, a coal-burning one in the kitchen, small baseboard heaters in the bedrooms, and a lone plug-in heater in the bathroom. That bathroom was the warmest room in the house. So that is where my sister slept.
In the tub.
Mom lined it with thick blankets, pillows, and quilts. It was almost like a modern-day “Moses in the basket”. She was certainly warm and cozy.
I’ll never forget that heater. My dad still has it in his basement. I read the warning on it every day growing up, so it’s memorized: “Warning – high heat. Keep electrical cords, drapes, and other furnishings away from heater.” Hmm, says nothing about toddlers in bathtubs on cold winter nights.