Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Thanksgiving Challenge Post 17: All these New Conveniences Part 3

Every morning when I wake up, I lie in bed for a few minutes planning my day. I decide what major chore will take up the best part of the day, and what small things I can get accomplished simultaneously. I can remember my mother saying (in a rather sing songy way) "man must work from sun to sun, but a woman's work is never done." I never knew the truth of that statement until I was actually running a home of my own. I figured when I was in school that homework took up the majority of time, but I loved school and homework was no biggy. The last thing my mother always did was put in a load of laundry and while it washed the clothes, she washed the kitchen floor. Laundry always seemed to be the one job that we all disliked the most. For the life of me, I can't figure out why. But this is the same routine I follow and always have.

Now, Mama had a nice washer and dryer, a front loader both. Once when complaints about doing laundry were heard, she took us to visit our Aunt Florence Sellers on the Monday Wash Day and dropped us off. We loved Aunt Florence and Uncle May (not a typo, so no red pencils please) so visiting them was pure joy to us. Uncle May had a good sized bamboo field across from the house (they made the greatest fishing poles) and we liked to run thru the bamboo field, swinging the big stalks to the ground. If it was work, we didn't know it. But on this day, Aunt Florence was on the back porch, the big old wringer washing machine agitating the first load of clothes. She had a big tub on the bench next to the washer, and in it were white shirts soaking in a bleach solution. The scrub board lay next to the tub. We watched as the water was pumped out of the basin of the tub and she grabbed big water heavy work pants and fed them through the wringer to get as much of the water out as possible. This was time consuming back breaking work. Of course it beat taking the clothes down to the river to wash, but not by much. I am so thankful for my nice modern washer and dryer every single time I go back and revisit the memory of washing clothes with Aunt Florence.

This day, and I was probably about six years old, she asked me if I wanted to help. Of course I did. I was always game to try anything she might suggest. Climbing up on the bench so I could bend over and reach into the basin, I picked up a comparatively light article of clothing (I think it was a pair of her ginormous step- ins) and while trying to feed the cloth into the "mangle", promptly got my arm, (step-ins and all,) caught in the wringer. There was much wailing and screeching going on (and that was just Aunt Florence) and then Uncle May came running out on the porch. He reached over and unplugged the washer and disconnected the wringer somehow (he'd done that before. I could tell by the swift way he got me loose from the thing). I sat in his lap while he petted and prodded the arm and told me that it was going to be okay. Aunt Florence told me I was making a big thing out of it, but I could tell it had scared her, too. After all, my mother had left me in her care with two perfectly good arms and legs, it wouldn't do to return me any less perfect that I had arrived.

Oddly enough, when I'm telling this, I can see them both so clearly and even hear their voices, that funny little hitch in Uncle May's laughter, that high pitched voice of Aunt Florence's. The only other time that happens is when I think about the time Uncle May's mule kicked me. But that's another story all together, and I'll tell it another day.

26 comments:

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

What a wonderful story...I can picture it like I was there. My grandmother had one of those wringer washers....scared me to death!
Hugs,
Penny

Terri and Bob said...

Aren't memories wonderful! I am all about the 17th day of blessings... the 17th is my birthday!!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I remember those wringers well and have had my fingers smashed more than once! I am thankful for the automatic washer,as well!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I remember those wringers well and have had my fingers smashed more than once! I am thankful for the automatic washer,as well!

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Sandi: That was a neat story. I can remember the wringer washer in the cellar and all the work involved. Then you had to hang the clothes outside to dry. That was a lot more work. Great music on your player.

Hilary said...

You have such a wonderful way of recalling your memories. You bring them to life. :)

lakeviewer said...

What a lovely memory piece. It's like watching a movie, with music in the background.

© Jennifer Raley said...

Absolutely wonderful story-telling. I presume your arm was okay after that? My grandmother had her wringer washer in a shed. The other grandmother washed in a sink with a plunger until her washer came. Different kind of hard-working days then.
See ya next time, Jen

Lori E said...

I remember them too and I have an antique wringer and a galvanized laundry tub in my garden. That is where they belong, there and in our memories.

Annette said...

I remember the wringer washers.... I HAD ONE IN ENGLAND..... I used it for 2 years and washed all my first born son's diapers in it..... that was in 1965...... Then hung them outside on a long line and used a long pole to push that line up to the sun! Great story...

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Now that brings back memories...of doing laundry in the 'good ole days'. I think of blueing...and bleac...and starch...and tons of ironing...and am so thankful for the modern methods of doing laundry.

Sarah said...

oh, we are so very blessed! What a great story!!!

Shadow said...

oh, i'm definately grateful for my modern conveniences after your story...

Mickle in NZ said...

I'm another you've brought back memories to. Mum's parents had an agitator washing machine with a wringer attachment. The washing went from the machine through the wringer into the first of the two wooden tubs. It would be swirled around in water then through the wringer again into the empty 2nd tub and hung outside. I was fascinated by it all.

Grandpa Jim had built the house including the wooden tubs which had to be left with an inch or so of water in them so they didn't dry out and split. There was a copper in the corner of the wash house which Nana would light a fire under to heat the soapy water for boiling up towels, sheets and tea towels.

At home we had a hoovermatic with its separate spinner, while Dad's folks had an Automatic Washing Machine!

sending care and huggles, Michelle and Zebbycat, xxx and purrrrrumbles

Protege said...

I love taking this walks down the memory lane with you.;) I think we all recall vividly our past when we read about yours.
xo
Zuzana

Maggie May said...

I can go back further than that! I can remember the days of boilers being heated up and old fashioned wooden mangle and dolly tubs. I know that washing was started at 6 am and that it was tea time before it was all finished!
I have got to blog about this as I have some photos.

Nuts in May

Mickle in NZ said...

Nana and Granpa Jim's copper also did stirling work heating up hot water. Yes, they had an ellectric hot water cylinder, but as at least half of their twin sons' rugby league team would come over for a bath after muddy match, Mum remember's heating up and bucketing their hot bath water into the bathroom from the copper.

Mind you the copper was a great way to burn household waste while heating the water!

Gaston Studio said...

OMG, Sandi what memories! I got my hand and arm caught in my grandmother's old wringer machine too many times to count!

Nessa said...

Your thanksgiving is bringing up lots of wonderful memories. Nice.

Wordless Wednesday - Pirates' Strumpet

it's possible google reader dropped my feed again

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Donna said...

I Love these kinds of memories Girl...Have a great day!!hughugs

Sandy Kessler said...

I can see my aunts and yes their muscular arms with washboards and later ringer washer- Thank Goodness yours truly would never survive!!


Would you autograph a cat lady book for my cat lady sister for Christmas..How will I get to you or can I pay you directly?

J said...

Thanks for your visit. I want to hear about the mule now. Although I'm also feeling very very grateful to have an electric washer and dryer.

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

I love your storytelling.

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lee said...

Good thing to be thankful for, Sandi. My grandmother had one of those wringer washers and I remember helping at her house where Mom took our laundry to get done too. Yep, I spent lots of time at Grandmother Vivian's house. It's interesting to note that in the news today I read where some folk are fighting for the right to hang their laundry out to dry on lines. I hope they win because there's nothing shameful in showing that you're hardworking and making a difference ecologically while you're doing it.

Great post!

Hugs,
Lee

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