This is the exact place where I fell in love with soap. The Conner House, located on the Conner Prairie Farm, in Fishers, Indiana.
I was 7 years old, on a grade school field trip. I was mesmerized by the house, the farm, the outbuildings where hand dipped candles and other items were made, including the smokehouse and blacksmith shop. I especially loved the large hearths in the house that held big black kettles. And, the imperfect glass panes in the house windows were beautiful! Before my group left the farm (and it was sad for me to walk away), we visited the farm store, where my souvinier money was carefully spent on a primitive hand formed ball of soap. The soap balls were displayed in a metal wash tub. The type of tub people would take a bath in, or perhaps people would hand wash their laundry in. From that moment forward, I started collecting soap.
A collection of soap as a child? Yes! Moving forward in time, visions of me at 16 years old, still buying bars of soap here and there. It might have been Avon soap, tar soap, cucumber soap, oatmeal soap, it did not matter. It was soap, and each bar was unique!
Conner Prairie, based on the pictorial I just looked at, is quite the tourist stop now. It is not as quaint as it was when I was in the 2nd grade! I remember a garden, a house, and a few outbuildings. From what I can see, their amenities now include a modern museum, and even a Facebook page. I will ignore all of that and stick with my memories! 44 years later, Conner Prairie is embedded in my being.
I am glad I stuck with soap, and that something so beautiful inspired me. I have always wanted to step back into the pioneer days. I am not sure I want to live there permanently, but the fascination is definitely a part of who I am. I suppose that is also why I am so dead set on making soap the old fashioned way, with lye, and with having to wait 4-6 weeks before the bars are cured. And I am so dead set on testing the bars myself to make sure they are soothing to the skin, enjoyable. My soap either passes my expectations, or it doesn’t get sold. It means a lot to me to provide quality products! And those products come from a very long love for soap (and visions of the past), and I am still very much inspired!