Fever seems to have unlocked a few other memories of the late 1930's. I'll try to keep this one (relatively) short.
Title: Bathtub Papier-Mache'
Date: Fall of 1938
Place: El Paso, TX
Location: Bathroom on the second floor of the "Hill Street" house
Cast of Characters: Myself (age 4); my younger sister (not quite 2); my mother's sister - sweet and dearly beloved Aunt Jewel
Props: Deep, claw-footed bathtub; a tremendous amount of newspaper; laundry starch; water; large buckets with lids.
Action: Aunt Jewel and children sit on floor of bathroom, laughing and tearing sheets of newspaper into strips which are thrown into the bathtub with great gusto. Aunt Jewel amuses children by telling stories of her experiences as an elementary school teacher in a small West Texas town. When all newspaper has been shredded, Aunt Jewel plugs bathtub drain and turns on water, soaking newspaper, adds starch. Children strip to undergarments and are lifted into the tub where they are instructed to stomp on the newspaper until it becomes mush. Children laugh with glee at this unexpected and delightfully messy experience. Aunt entertains children with stories of making wine by tromping on grapes. Younger child slips and sits down in mushy paper, but continues to kick feet to stir the mix. When proper consistency has been achieved, Aunt Jewel stops the tromping and removes as much paper mush as possible, placing it in buckets. Children remain in bathtub. Using dry cloth, Aunt wipes as much paper mush from tub and children as is possible, then turns on water and bathes children. Children are dried off and re-clothed. - End
Note: Aunt Jewel must have been doing some sort of project at her school which required a substantial amount of papier-mache'. Wherever she was teaching, it must not have been far from El Paso, since I remember her being a frequent week-end visitor. My mother must have been very happy for her visits and her ability to entertain the two of us, since Mother was then pregnant with my baby sister, Carol Anne, who was born on New Year's Day, 1939.