Sometimes on rare occasions I get to combine my actual college degree in History with my chosen profession as a cloth diaper blogger. When I lived in NC for a few months I seized the opportunity to film an interview with my grandparents and share with the world their experiences with flats and handwashing. While my maternal grandmother Peggy was camera shy and thus appears less frequently in the film, my step-paternal grandparents Bill and Ann (who are like my own parents) were born storytellers. I lived with them for a while in high school and fondly recall their stories about their younger days.
The film is 12 minutes long but for anyone interested in how our grandparents used to live, including how they diapered their children, you’ll be glad you watched. Both of my grandmothers had children during the mid 1950’s and my maternal grandmother continued into the early 1960’s. Both exclusively used birdeye cotton flats and handwashed their diapers. They discuss in depth how they boiled the diapers. My Mamaw Ann exclaims in horror after I ask her if she sunned the stains out of her diapers that she would never hang stained diapers on the line [for the neighbors to see.]
I definitely consider the information about Flour Sacks to be the most interesting. While I knew that flour sack towels make great cloth diapers I didn’t realize their origins! Flour sacks used to come in floral patterns and once the flour was gone families would turn the sacks into dresses, tea towels, bonnets, and anything left over would then be used for diapers. If this is interesting to you there are a few interviews about this topic on “Farming in the 30’s.”
I appreciate you taking the time to watch this short film. It is out of my own comfort zone (I even rented a professional mic for the audio) but it was so much fun to record, research for, and edit. Anyone interested in historical cloth diaper information should also follow me on Pinterest. There I keep a board on Historical Cloth Diapers full of vintage photographs of babies in cloth diapers, vintage cloth diaper ads, vintage detergent and diaper commericials, and even a few early disposable ads that reference cloth diapers when they were trying to knock the competition.