Sticks and stones may break my bones but these words haven't hurt me.
So why are we calling ourselves the Soiled Doves ? The Soiled Doves Bath House was opened 15 years ago in a tiny horse carriage house located at the site of the old Hotel in Danville California. The hotel was built in the late 1800's. In the 1950's a gentleman purchased the property and turned the large lot into an Old West theme setting which included a small jail house in the center of it's courtyard. There were signs of the Old West hanging about, one read " rooms for rent upstairs $5.00 " , another stated " Sheriffs office " and had an arrow pointing in that direction. One sign hanging near my new store location read " The Soiled Doves Bath House - Mollie Fewclothes proprietress ". I guess one would have gotten a clue then, however seeing things the way I often do, my thoughts were that this all had to do with the birds of peace. The word ' soiled ' made me think of how people sometimes get weary in life and ' bath house ' related to my experience in a true life bath house in Japan over 30 years ago.... it was beautiful & peaceful. I asked the property management for permission to use the name and so it was.
As a license life and disability agent having had sold health insurance for over 20 years and having spoken to many people about their health history, I realized that what the insurance companies and doctors were calling " diseases " were actually from my view point truly ' dis - eases '. With having a background in psychology and wanting to help people to relax, I decided to leave the corporate world and open a retail bath shop as I knew that the bath was a place to refresh and rejuvenate the spirit, a sanctuary of relaxation in the home. The bath shop would be a place to find therapy by way of aromas and a way to step into a place of the past, a place that once brought us happiness.
While at one of my first trade shows in San Francisco, a vendor asked me " why the name Soiled Doves ?" When I explained about the birds of peace, she asked if I knew the true historic meaning? The vendor explained that these words had to do with women who had
" fallen from grace ". Floored, I had thought of changing the name but the cost made me think otherwise. Knowing it was not my own meaning brought me peace of mind. I later discovered a book by Anne Seagraves who has written several books on women in the early West, one of them called ' Soiled Doves ' . Anne wrote about how these women struggled in the early West while being out numbered 2 women to every 100 men. These women saw a need and opened brothels to make a living. It was not a job that most people often associate them with, sometimes the women were there to cook a meal, mend a shirt or even care for them when they got sick. In my opinion, they were somewhat of a wife to many. These women were sometimes young girls who somehow made the rugged trip to the early West. As more women came to the West and Christianity became more popular, those women were frowned upon and given the name " Soiled Doves ". They were cast out of the society groups. Saddened, some of these beautiful women drank poisons to end their lives.
Having read this book, and being a Christian myself, I decided to free the spirit of those women. I brought vintage clothing into the store which included vintage Christening gowns to represent a bath of their spirit, a symbol to return them to a time when they were pure and loved. It became to be about a return to Grace. There are vintage white dresses here, some are used today as wedding gowns. The white vintage dresses represent that there is one who wants to make a commitment to them and fill their lives with true and sincere love. It means that there is no longer a line of needy men waiting at their doorstep.
I call the spirit of the Soiled Doves my partners and have had some amazing things happen over the years that make me know they are in my corner. How be it that anyone have such nerve to think themselves above anyone and cast them out? I thank God for the association with their bygone spirit.
There is only one Soiled Doves Bath House, it is located in the heart of Carmel by the Sea, California . In 2010, it was nominated for business of the year in it's first year after re-locating to Carmel. The girls would surely be proud!
The Soiled Doves Bath House
Betsy Durnell Proprietress