Thanks for stopping by for the final installment of sponges, something about which you’d never thought you’d waste five seconds of your (mostly half-lived) life reading. Fried shrimp and tobacco never looked so fun. One thing I’ve discovered is that the writers at NG were pretty clever. I especially enjoyed this reference to “Milady’s bath.” And now to the weird part of the Tarpon Springs culture, where young men (and future sponge-divers) dive into frosty January waters to retrieve an emblem. You know, like Labradors do. To the winner, go the spoils. You’d think having washboard abs is its own reward, but evidently the blessing was nice, too. Well, I hope you absorbed all that. Like. A. Sponge. Come on; I had to.
I scored some pretty cool National Geographics last weekend, including this one from January 1947. Although I’ve seen the yellow and black covers throughout my life, including an entire wall in my grandparents’ den, I know of no one my age who ever sat down and actually read one. Perhaps the boys flipped through them for images of topless tribal women, but not to read what I have realized are 50 page articles. FIFTY PAGES!! I guess that’s what you did in days before TV and WordPress and facebook updates. You sat and read about sponge diving for six days solid. I don’t have that kind of time, but I did learn from looking at pictures that a tube went directly from their helmets into their butts.
I also found out that ladies were paid to fashion sponges into fluffy wreaths, fit for a Christmas tree.