Saturday, 13 December 2014

Lava Soap and other Portals to Nostalgia

I was looking through the website, just musing through the hand-cranked clothes washers and cheesemaking supplies on a lazy Saturday morning (i.e. putting off cleaning the house and filling my own clothes washer), when I stumbled across a page offering Lava soap for sale.

Instantly I'm six years old again, standing in my grandparents' bathroom in Meridian Idaho, washing my hands before supper. On the sink ledge is a bar of rough, green Lava soap, like sandpaper, worn thin in the middle and grimy in spots. It was the best thing for removing engrained dirt -- ideal for gardeners, farmers, mechanics, or anyone else who gets good and dirty. Isn't it funny how a bar of soap can zing you straight back forty years? I can smell the sloppy joes, feel the texture of the shag carpet, and hear the sound Grandpa's recliner made when it was laid back.

On another page of the website, I found for sale a wooden marble game much like the one Grandma let us play with when we visited. We would send the glass marbles shooting out over a layer of ceramic tiles, adding music to the cacophony of the rattling train of marbles. It was a simple pleasure that kept us entranced for hours, every time we came to visit. I'm dying to buy one for my granddaughter. Would such a simple thing still enchant a child raised on princess cartoons and video games? Can today's children still appreciate non-plastic toys? I certainly hope so. If she doesn't play with it, I will.

In this world of plastic and glitz and flashing lights, I am deeply comforted by the thought that there is a company still promoting wooden pound-the-peg-with-a-mallet toys and kerosene lamps and high-wheel cultivators. Someone somewhere out there is a kindred spirit.

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