Soap, in one form or another, has been a part of my family for three generations, and now, perhaps, four.
My great grandfather, Arthur Edelmuth, began a soap factory in Frankfurt, Germany. The factory made white soap and brown soap. The white soap was cosmetic soap, while the brown soap was for industrial purposes. They marketed to the Jewish hospitals throughout Germany and did pretty well for themselves.
I never saw any of the white soap, but my grandmother had a little chunk of the brown soap, which she used to wash dishes. It lasted over seventy years. That’s some soap.
The nazis interrupted the prosperity of the Edelmuth soap company, and my family, or what was left of it, fled to America. My grandfather decided to cater to drycleaners and instead of the incredibly long lasting brown soap, he and his little brother made carbon tetrachloride and other nasty cleaning fluids.
My father Walter went into the family business, somewhat against his will, but it all came to a crashing end when he caught a wildfire fever that burned him away at the age of twenty-nine.
Heartbroken, my grandfather sold the company to Dow Chemical and the family soap story came to an end.
But now, a hundred and thirty-five years later, I’m thinking about soap. Maybe I’ll make some. Maybe.
Perhaps, soap is in my blood. That would explain the bubbles.