My mom-in-law (MIL) has many old stories to share and often when I say something that jogs her memory, she'll remember something from the past when money was tight and hard to come by. Despite all the financial limitations, she did her best. She repeats this often, "we were so poor but we were really happy!". Usually this would be followed by a wistful smile and a faraway look in her eyes.
As most mothers, one of her main concerns was that the kids were always clean and healthy. Stephen remembers that they used this soap when they were still small children running around the neighbourhood. They played in the mud, in the sand, in the grass and even in the nearby cemetery. When they reached home with all the sweat, dust and dirt, the first thing to do was shower with this soap. They never had rashes or sores or any skin problem and they always smelt like they stepped out of the hospital.
In those days, a bar cost S$0.20 and today it is S$0.80. My mom-in-law still asks for this every once in a while and we buy it for her. I think that when she showers in the morning, the smell of the soap takes her back to those days in Rosyth Road.
She said that the neighbours called it 'dog' soap because people bought it for their dogs. She laughs when she remembers this anecdote.
These days, I am seeing my mom-in-law with new eyes. I admit that I hadn't always felt this way about her but this last year has opened my heart, just that little bit more, with each sharing of her life story.
All of us have an interesting story to tell. All it takes is someone willing to listen and to write about it before it is lost forever.