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Thread: where did "Piss Poor" come from?

  1. #1
    Fancy Nancy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Interesting History

    Where did Piss Poor come from?

    They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in
    a pot and then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery.......if you had
    to do this to survive you were "Piss Poor"

    But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't even afford to
    buy a pot......they "didn't have a pot to piss in" and were the
    lowest of the low

    The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water
    temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

    Here are some facts about the 1500s:

    Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in
    May, and they still smelled pretty good by June... However, since they were
    starting to smell. ..... . brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the
    body odor; hence, the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting

    Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house
    had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men,
    then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the
    water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the

    "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!"

    Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath.
    It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other
    small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became
    slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof...Hence
    the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

    There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a
    real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up
    your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the
    top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

    The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence
    the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get
    slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to
    help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh
    until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A
    piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

    (Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

    In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that
    always hung over the fire... Every day they lit the fire and added things to
    the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would
    eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight
    and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas'
    porridge cold, and pea's porridge in the pot nine days old. Sometimes they
    could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came
    over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth
    that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to
    share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat".

    Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content
    caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning
    death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or
    so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

    Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the
    loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper

    Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would
    sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking
    along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.
    They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family
    would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up.Hence the custom of holding a wake.


    is old and small and the local folks started running out of places
    to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a
    bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25
    coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized
    they had been burying people alive... So they would tie a string on the
    wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground
    and tie it to a bell.
    Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard
    shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell
    was considered a dead ringer.

    And that's the truth....Now, whoever said history was boring!!!

    So...get out there and educate someone! ~~~ Share these facts with a

  2. #2
    Power Poster cjomomma's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Murray, Ky. Looking for a nice cushy pillow to rest my head on!
    Blog Entries
    I've seen these many times but I enjoy reading them everytime I come across it. Thank you.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Tulsa, OK
    Hello, I am from Girard originally and have heard all of those expressions and some or the reasons, but by no means all of them. Always interesting to learn something new about the past. Thanks for posting and teaching us something. Good to hear from someone from "home" Have lived in Tulsa for 20 yrs. If we talked long enough, I am sure we would connect trough the six degrees of seperation, something that fascinates me. Have a great day.

  4. #4
    Super Member katesnanna's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Blog Entries
    I found this very interesting. Thank you for posting it.

  5. #5
    Super Member Deecee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Victoria, Australia
    Well, well ..... actually very interesting.

  6. #6
    Super Member dream56's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Indiana, PA
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    That was so interesting. Learned a lot.

  7. #7
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    I'm going to savor my next bath!!! lol

  8. #8
    Super Member LeeAnn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    My grandkids will be happy to know they don't have to bath again until May. lol. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  9. #9
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Blog Entries
    Are these true?
    I thought my Daddy created "That's Piss poor". :-)

  10. #10
    Super Member pab58's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    near Tucson, Arizona
    Blog Entries
    Thanks!!! I love stuff like this!! I'll be using some of it in class! :thumbup:

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