Old Wives' Tales

Discussion in 'Other Reminiscences' started by Mal Campbell, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. Mal Campbell

    Mal Campbell Well-Known Member
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    I saw a commercial last night that I found so funny, because it reminded me so much of me when I was younger. I don't know what product they were advertising, but it shows a young boy jumping in the swimming pool right after eating and him getting in trouble.

    It reminded me of all those old wives' tales that our parents told us to keep us in line - my favorite (the one I hated the most) was, of course, "You can't go swimming for 30 minutes after eating".

    Another, not really an old wives' tale, but more of a country saying - whenever I was hurting or had a headache or such, my mom would tell me, "Don't worry, it's just growing pains". I was in my late teens before I realized that your body growing doesn't actually make it hurt.

    Anybody else have some good ones?
     
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  2. Allie Seay

    Allie Seay Active Member
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    I always like this one, though I never tried it. I figured it might be tough to explain if I got caught--Throw an onion on your neighbor's roof if you have a cold. Supposedly, the cold will leave you and move on to your neighbor.

    I've never tried either of these two, either, but how about stealing a dishrag from someone you know to get rid of warts or eating coleslaw before you drink so you won't get drunk?

    I'm not sure, though, that those don't fall more under the category of folk remedies. On the other hand, I'm not sure there's much of a difference.:)
     
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  3. Pat Baker

    Pat Baker Well-Known Member
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    For years I have told my kids to have a cup of tea when they would come to me with any sort of discomfort. Little did I know drinking tea was actually good for the body. The girls would come to me and say I know drink a cup of tea you will feel better, now they are saying drink a cup of tea to their kids. Who knew.
     
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  4. Mal Campbell

    Mal Campbell Well-Known Member
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    Hey, if it's good for Pooh Bear, it's got to be good for everyone! I remember he used to drink chamomile tea after overeating honey, to make his tummy feel better. It's funny, I really like chamomile tea, but I can never drink it without thinking of Pooh Bear.
     
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  5. Sarah Price

    Sarah Price Member
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    Wow, only 30 minutes? My grandma would make us wait an HOUR before swimming after a meal. The only other wives' tales I can remember is my mom admonishing me to stop sitting so close to the TV because it would ruin my eyes. My eyes are bad, but that is simple genetics.
     
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  6. Michelle Stevens

    Michelle Stevens Active Member
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    I sometimes wonder about that. Not the sitting close part, but watching TV in general.

    I live in South Africa and TV only arrived here in the mid seventies, just as I was entering my teens. At that stage nobody in my family wore glasses, but within a couple of years my eyesight started to deteriorate and I've needed glasses for distance ever since. I'm one of the lucky ones as I can manage everything I need to do around the house without glasses and only need to put them on for watching TV (!) or when I go out. So far I haven't needed to wear glasses for reading either, but I imagine that the day I need reading glasses isn't far off.

    Of course I can't say for certain that I wouldn't have eventually needed glasses anyway, but I believe that day may have come a little later without TV.
     
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  7. Ruth Belena

    Ruth Belena Active Member
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    There is often an element of truth behind these remedies.

    We know that a raw onion absorbs germs very quickly. I have heard that if you are starting a cold you should sleep with a raw onion close to your face so it can soak up your germs. If you were to throw it away next morning, you might find that your cold was cured.

    Eating anything before drinking means you become intoxicated less quickly and it could be that the mayonnaise in coleslaw will effectively line the stomach.

    As for stolen dishrags... lemon juice, onion juice and garlic juice all have antibacterial qualities and help get rid of skin blemishes when applied directly to the area, so a rag that has absorbed some of those liquids could possibly work on warts.
     
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  8. Jorge Ruiz

    Jorge Ruiz Member
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    Rub the wart with a cut potato, bury the potato in the back yard, as the potato rots away the wart will disappear.

    Then there's those that I won't detail but we have all heard concerning how those warts got on your hands in the first place (if you didn't go blind first, ha!).

    For my mom it was the hot toddy (tea with a generous dollop of honey and an even more generous one of whiskey), that's what we got, along with the steaming hot bath and the underwear heated on the gas stove, with the Vicks VaporRub all over our chests.

    I have put cut onion bathed in honey next to the head of the bed, then drunk the liquid the next morning. Helps if you believe in it (as well as the probable real benefits it might have, homeopathy aside....)
     
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  9. Mal Campbell

    Mal Campbell Well-Known Member
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    My mother-in-law has a funny story. She had heard the old wife's tale that if you wrote a boy's name on the inside of your thing with poison ivy, he would ask you to marry him. She tried it - didn't work. Of course, it cured her of her infatuation with him. By the time the poison ivy healed she was sick of him and all the pain he had caused.
     
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  10. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    The thing about old wives' tales is that, while some of them are obviously false, others are based on a seed of truth, while there are some cases when the old wives got it right.

    For example, generations of children have been nursed through colds and flu with a steaming bowl of chicken soup. In modern ages, a lot of people have come to regard this as ineffective but harmless placebo, or as comfort food for those who are sick in bed.

    However, chicken soup does help. As the soup simmers, the chicken releases the amino acid, cysteine, into the broth. Similar to the drug, acetylcysteine, which is prescribed for bronchitis and other respiratory ailments, reduces the buildup of mucus and helps the sufferer breathe easier.
     
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  11. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    The only member I recognized as I wound down through this thread was @Ken Anderson . What has become of everyone? I guess I hang in there on a forum, until steps are taken to kick me out (has happened), or I just drop out. Some of my very best internet friends came about by forum membership. One in particular I "met" on a gun forum ~ 10 years ago, while we lived in MO, he lived in NE OK. Retired truck driver who grew up in CA, lived and worked there all his life. Moved to OK in retirement with his wife. One of the most eloquent persons as far as writing in the English language that I've known. He could talk like a college professor with ease, this truckdriver. I drove to Tulsa to meet him and his wife to attend Wannamacher's Gun Show, billed as one of the world's largest. By then, he was having difficulty walking. He gave me a bunch of gun-related stuff as we were saying good-bye. This was in the late 2000's. He had revealed to me that he had cancer. A few years after we met, he posted his wife had died. Meanwhile, our PC was vandalized while we were wintering in AZ, and all communications with him from the past were lost.

    His moniker was James. His name was James McGee. He was a BIG, BIG, man..........

    Frank
     
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  12. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    We are taller than our ancestors

    People who are visiting historic homes will sometimes remark about how low ceilings are, and how short the beds are. Commonly, another tourist or a tour guide will assert that people a hundred years ago or more were shorter than we are today.

    Most likely, they will offer, as a reason, that we have better nutrition today, as people have access to plenty of vitamin-rich foods. That makes sense, but when it comes to old wives' tales, it's good to be skeptical.

    However, the average height of people in industrialized nations has increased by about four inches in a hundred and fifty years. It is not certain that nutrition is the reason, but neither has that been discounted. It is reasonable to assume that children who enjoy better nutrition during their growing years are likely to grow taller, although not perceptively in just one generation.

    From skeletal remains of the first humans to the early 1800s, there was little if any change in average height. Seemingly, the increase in height began in the 1800s. For the first thousands of years of human existence, the average child was not provided with enough nutrition. Chronic underfeeding is thought to be the problem. In other words, a temporary disruption can be overcome later. In Germany, during World Wars One and Two, children were unable to get enough nutrition, and the children of those years were slow to grow. Once the wars were over, and food became plentiful again, the underdeveloped German children recovered. Chronic underfeeding during childhood permanently affects stature, while the effects of temporary malnourishment can be reversed.

    Will we continue to grow taller generation after generation? Probably not, as average heights have leveled off during the past fifty years, so there may be a genetic upper limit to height.
     
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  13. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    Coffee will stunt your growth

    Many children were prohibited from drinking coffee on the grounds that it will stunt their growth. I was allowed to drink coffee only when we were at the hunting camp. Black was the only option, and you'd better believe it was strong, so I didn't become a fan of coffee until I became an adult and learned that coffee doesn't have to taste horrible. Clearly, my abstinence was to no avail because I am 5'4". Of course, I was allowed to drink pop, which is what we called it, and soft drinks are laden with caffeine. As for my height, however, I blame my mother, who was even shorter, and my father, who was only a couple of inches taller.

    But does coffee stunt your growth? Well, there is a grain of truth in it because a high intake of coffee can result in a loss of calcium and potassium that a growing child might need in order for his bones to grow. But this effect would be offset by drinking just one glass of milk a day, or by eating foods that are rich in calcium and potassium, especially healthy foods like ice cream. So, unless a kid is knocking down double shots of espresso all day, there should be no effect on his height.

    As for other problems that might be attributed to coffee, the "experts" go back and forth every few years. One study will insist that coffee is only a couple of clicks short of nicotine on the bad scale, while another study will find that it reduces the chances of getting cancer. Doctors generally recommend against drinking coffee, no matter what might be wrong with you, but these are the same doctors who want everyone over the age of forty to take statin drugs.
     
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