Daily Archives: March 3, 2012

In My Day…My Mother Said Baking Soda Did Everything | Lynn Ruth Miller

Baking Soda
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In my day my mother said baking soda did everything. She sprinkled it all over the bathroom because she said it absorbed odors. I guess it worked because our toilet seat was so gritty I always went next door. Whenever I took a bath, I looked frosted. That’s probably why I love cake. My mom polished her silverware with baking soda and cleaned out our baby bottles. That made the silver look like ivory and I still hate the taste of milk.

My mother didn’t spend money on caustic cleaners. She used baking soda to polish plastic, porcelain and glass. And when she felt a storm coming on, she ran outside and put baking soda on the car’s windshield. She said it repels rain if you wipe the windows inside and out and it keeps lightning from striking the car. When I asked her why she didn’t just pull the car into the garage, she washed my mouth out with baking soda. I think that’s why I’m afraid of thunder.

She made us gargle with baking soda, and when we got sweaty, she rubbed it under our arms. She made us drink baking soda and water if we had indigestion and she smeared it on us for measles, chickenpox and insect bites. But when my vagina itched, she just said, “Serves you right.”

My mother would have murdered me if I ever called a plumber. She saved money by keeping our drains clear with a baking soda solution and a plunger. Until my cousin Alvin got his plumbing license. Then she called him over when the toilet backed up and she handed him a box of baking soda and a plunger. I guess you had to be there.

That woman used baking soda to dissolve grease, clean the coffee pot, polish rusty pans and clean up my language. Yessir, my mom swore by baking soda. She said it would do anything but make him love you. That takes  chemistry and a little perfume.