Superstition & Song

Some of you may remember a parent or grandparent saying this ditty before you went to sleep. “Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.” Did you know it was based on truth? Old superstitions and religion thought it evil to bathe more than a month at a time. It was thought a sign of vanity. They covered their bad body odor withy herbs and perfumes.

I recently visited Prescott, Arizona and visited the Sharlot museum. In their historical building called the Fremont, the narrator told the history of the beds back in the 1880’s. Instead of box springs, long ropes were used to hold in sacks of straw for bedding. Daily, the ropes would have to be tightened. Between the casual bathing and the straw, people were used to having lice and bed bugs. When the ropes were pulled taunt the bugs would jump.

Tired from driving, my husband and I pulled into a motel called the Sand And Sage in Hawthorne, Nevada. Big mistake. My husband saw the sign for $29.99 a night. I told him that sometimes the cheap motels are not the best to stay at, after I had read about bed bugs in the newspaper, but he wouldn’t listen. The clerk was pock-marked like a meth head and not very bright. A sign behind him said no refunds. Our room was on the end. We had to push hard to get the door open. A small refrigerator stood ajar behind the door and a microwave was above it. Neither were plugged in. An old TV sat off in the other corner and had a dark picture. There were no bath towels in the bathroom and the bathroom had seen its day with wear. The room had two queen size beds. One slumped down. I pulled back the covers of the other bed and noted blood stains. I told my husband that I wasn’t sleeping inside the bed. I had a blanket in the car I covered up with. He slept on top of the bed but couldn’t sleep because he pictured bed bugs in his mind all night. The next day we drove all the way back home in Washington. My husband and I both agreed to never stay in Hawthorne again. Bed bugs, ugh!


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