Boil Water for Baby – An Old Wives Tale?

Sunday, August 22, 1943

I was born!!! Yesterday!!!!! At least, that’s what my grandfather said in his letter of today: “At last I am breathing freely. It was awful strain on me becoming a grandfather. I thought all I had to do was to raise those moustaches of mine and the rest would be easy. But I was wearing rings in our living room carpet.” He adds this tantalizing aside: “There are a number of things that people back home do to shorten the time of deliverance. But I couldn’t remember a single one.” It would be interesting to know what people did in Russia or Lithuania back in the early 1900’s. But at least I know why people boiled water as a woman delivered a baby. I always wondered about movie scenes where the husband is ordered to go boil water. So one day I asked my father’s mother, born in Germany in the late 1800’s. She blinked in surprise and answered as if it was the most obvious thing in the world: “To clean the baby.” I assume the water was allowed to cool a bit but at least it was sterile!

This entry was posted in Jewish life in America during WW II, Today in WWII, World War II. Bookmark the permalink.

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