Friday, August 31, 2007

Rain and Razor Blades

So, my last story was about my Dad. It's only right that today I share a story about my Mom.

When I was four years old, we lived, for a year, in Ketchikan, Alaska. Ketchikan is one very rainy seaside town. It averages 151.6 inches/year of precipitation. And, if I have my dates right, we were there in 1953, when the annual rainfall totaled 188.96 inches! All that rain just wasn't my Mom's idea of Paradise, so the next year we moved back to Oregon.

While we lived in Ketchikan, though, we rented an apartment that was one in a long row of attached apartments. One day, not long after we'd moved in, Mom went into the bathroom, and there was one of Dad's razor blades in the sink. She was aggravated to think that he'd be that careless, since I was just a tot, and could have found it and cut myself. So when Dad came home, she asked him to be more careful. He said he thought he had put the used razor blade in the medicine cabinet slot. (For you who are too young to know, let me explain. There used to be these little razor blade-sized slots in the back of some medicine cabinets. You were supposed to deposit your used blades into the slot, and the blades would drop into the space between the walls, which was, I guess, thought to be a safer place than the trash to dispose of them.)

A few days later, there were two blades in the sink. Now this was just too much for Mom. Why was he being so careless? She poked the blades into the slot, and had another discussion with him that night. This time he claimed that he knew he hadn't left any blades lying around. Mom wasn't really buying his innocence, though, because who else would have left razor blades in the sink?

So when, a few days later, she went into the bathroom and found three blades in the sink, she was totally exasperated. She opened the medicine cabinet, and was about to poke the blades into the slot, when suddenly she saw light coming through the slot, and then a person's eye, peeking through. "Margaret, is that you?!" asked the neighbor lady, through the little opening. Apparently the two medicine cabinets were back-to-back, with the slots lining up exactly. Whenever a razor blade was disposed of in one apartment, it simply went into the adjoining apartment's medicine cabinet, or sink, if the door was ajar.

Mom and the neighbor lady both wasted no time in taping up the slots, which were never used again. And Dad was off the hook.

[PS - While looking out on the internet to see if anyone else remembered these razor blade slots, I came across this little rant. It even shows a picture of one of those slots. You might enjoy reading it.]


Kelsey said...

Yeah, not old enough to remember. Sorry :)

The whole time I was reading that I just knew it was you that was climbing up there messing with your parents.

Anonymous said...

That is the oddest thing. Our house was built in the 40s, and the medicine cabinets do have those slots. I always wondered how you were supposed to get the trash out of them. I can't believe you were just supposed to abandon the blades inside the walls.

Anonymous said...

Just removed an old medicine cabinet in the house recently purchased. And I was shocked to find a pile of old razors. WTF?