Pat Shingleton: "Where did 'Spring Cleaning' Come From?"
After recording overnight lows in the 20s, the countdown to Spring is 14 days away! On this date in 1954, Florida received its greatest snowfall when four inches whitened Milton and two inches covered Pensacola within a 24 hour period. On March 5, 1997, a swath of hail, five miles wide and a foot deep, stretched from McLain, Mississippi to Leaksville. It was still visible the next day. On March 4, 1841, President William Henry Harrison took the oath of office on a cloudy, windy, day and a temperature of 48 degrees. After a lengthy speech he took a carriage ride from the Capitol Building without a hat or overcoat. The following days he suffered a cold that escalated into pneumonia and he died one month later. As noted and the start of another season in two weeks, some “blooming” is underway, especially with our beautiful azaleas. Prior to the vacuum cleaner and especially in the northern climates, March was the best time to place all the rugs in the house over the clothes line. The carpets were beaten with a stick or other implement to knockout the winter dust. Windows and doors were also opened to allow the springtime winds to force the dirt outside. The origin of spring cleaning dates back 3,500 years to the Persian new year and the first day of spring. Iranians continue a practice of “khooneh tekouni” or “shaking the house.” The ancient Jewish tradition of cleansing the home before Passover is still practiced.