Toilet Paper and the End of Civility- Repost

For those of you who also read my other blog, “Mommysmeanderings,” todays post has been borrowed from there.

I was thinking of my grandmother recently while I was brushing my teeth. Grandma was crafty—perhaps I got just a few of her craftiness genes. She loved to crochet, and I am fortunate that I have one of her creations—an afghan which she crocheted and is draped over one of my sofas.


Sadly, what I do not have, is one of her more unique projects—a toilet paper cover. So I had to rely on the Internet for a photo which I was able to locate at


These lovely creations cleverly hid a roll of toilet paper and were born in a bygone era when censors were a lot more concerned regarding what was said on television and the movies. My grandma was a mother of six when the movie “Gone With the Wind” was first released in 1939. During that movie, Clark Gable spoke the infamous line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Back in those days, it was quite a scandalous utterance.

The bathing suits during my mother’s youth did not show nearly the amount of skin that you would witness poolside today in mixed company with children present, with bathing suits showing more and more cleavage or butts.

As a child of the sixties, when the cameras rolled into the bedroom during one of my favorite television shows, the couple (always, always married) were shown speaking to each other from their respective twin beds, separated at that time by a table. With the exception of one couple from a 1941 sitcom called “Mary Kay and Johnny,” which my mother did not recall, married couples did not share a bed until  Herman and Lily Munster of  “The Munsters” and Samantha and Darrin Stevens of Bewitched made cohabiting one bed acceptable.

It was not long ago when we showed respect to our elders, our teachers, and our president. I am embarrassed to be from the state where it was my congressman who yelled out to President Obama in the middle of his first State of the Union Address, “You lie.” While I understand that he disagreed with the president, I feel it was not acceptable to disrespect the office. What would Dad think?

Now cursing is commonplace, respect has flown out the window, and you never know what to expect when you turn on the television or the radio. It was hard enough when my children were young, but I find it has gotten worse as exemplified by the 2016 election. What would Dad think, having lived for ten years in a country where democracy did not exist?

I spoke with my mother about this tonight and told her that a part of me longs to return to a time where rolls of toilet paper must be covered, because a civil society would never admit what was hidden under that crocheted craft. In a civil world, bad manners and incivility are hidden under that toilet paper cover. But that is what freedom and the First Amendment are about, so what would Dad think?

About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
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1 Response to Toilet Paper and the End of Civility- Repost

  1. Sheryl says:

    What a fun post! I’d totally forgotten about crocheted toilet tissue roll covers until I read this post. It definitely was a different era. 🙂

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