There was a time when every Trinidadian had ah juking board! Hold on now this post should have been titled "juking board"... "Steups or Choops or even chut man". Our language is so colorful that sometimes it is even a pain to simply title a post. Well we will remain with the one that we originally started with for post number 91: "Blue Soap, Brown Soap, Sunlight Soap, Tide, Breeze and Cheer! Let's see what the juking board had to say about these slippery when wet clothes brighteners!
Well to be honest if you really wanted your whites to look really white then you needed to put some "blue" in the final rinse. You know what blue is right... that little square blue block that you wrapped in a piece of cloth and simply dropped in the final rinse... not too much eh! Well let's talk about blue soap and brown soap or as I like to call it 'dog soap'. Blue soap was used for just about anything especially with a scrubbing brush to get every stinky sneakers clean. Some people even used blue soap for bathing. Now that I have learned a thing or two about soap I now understand that all beauty bars are not really soap at all. So using Blue soap was not such a bad idea after all. Brown soap was an unusual one. I know that it was used for washing clothes on the juking board... A little extra brown soap and a few more juks on the board and voila you have a clean pair of dungarees. Brown soap was used on dogs and was good at putting many a flea to rest forever... No I am not talking about carbolic soap but that was the ideal one for using on yuh ringworm circles that we sometimes got as children 'running jockeys' in the dirty canal water.
Sunlight soap was my favorite. I can still smell that soap. For some reason I think of bright sunny days and clothes on the lines flapping when the breeze picked up. The smell of that yellow soap was really nice but it melted too quickly if left in the water. A bucket of water standing next to the standpipe and the smell of sunlight soap was not an unusual sight and smell 'back in the day'.
Finally, we come to the classic final three powder soaps... Tide, Breeze and Cheer. I think Tide came in an orange box, breeze was in a red box and cheer came in a blue box. However, as a child, I was interested in the box of cheer because there was always a toy car or some other toy that intrigued me as a child. The sound of my mother pushing clothes against the juking board or the swishing of the clothing in the water was of no interest to me. In those days just washing one pair of dungarees was a chore. However, the power of those detergents made the job easy. First, as I can recall, washing of clothes was done in the river and one could hear clothing being rapped against rocks to get the dirt out. Later on the standpipes were the place to be and the lime continued as clothing was slapped against the concrete stand pipes. Finally as we got pipe borne water into our homes just about everyone had a concreted area where clothes washing was done. Then came the washing machine and a wonderful opportunity to hang out died as we forged ahead into the future.
The need for blue soap, brown soap and sunlight soap also diminished but the talk was all about the stain fighting power of powdered soap... change is good but some changes took away a wonderful part of our social life as it was back in the day. So now you can see that not all soap could bring about such good memories... Can your block of soap today make you this nostalgic?