Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Monday means laundry

Laundry day is not my favorite day of the week. But I have no set day to do my laundry...I just know it's time to fire up my Whirlpool when the hamper is overflowing!

Monday was laundry day for Mom. And it was quite a chore for her, an all day event!

She got married in 1946 & sometime after that purchased a wringer washing machine and used it until my baby sister was born in 1964 or until we moved to Kansas in 1966. (My memory fails me here so maybe "Baby Sis" can remember better than me!)

Laundry day meant that the dirty clothes would have to be toted down the basement steps, there to be sorted, and then washed in the wringer washer. Which of course did not have a rinse cycle. Which meant that the clean clothes had to be churned around in the rinse water & then wrung out again. Then the clean laundry needed to be carried up the basement steps, carried outside & hung up on the clothes line to be dried.
I remember helping Mom do laundry. And the baskets of wet clothes were very heavy to carry up the seemingly very long stairway. Sometimes my job would be to wipe down the clothes line before we hung up the clothes. (You never knew how many birds had used the lines for a perch that week!)

I used to love the smell of freshly air dried bedsheets. We had never heard of fabric softeners then and didn't mind the outdoor scents on our clothing or the roughness of our wind dried bath towels. Now I much prefer the scent & feel of my Downy dried laundry.

Rainy days & freezing weather meant the clothes had to be hung up on lines strung in our basement. But I can remember bringing in clothes that were stiff as boards after being freeze dried on the lines!

Tuesdays were ironing days. Mom's iron was not a steam iron so most things had to be sprinkled down. She would sprinkle the clothes, roll them up tightly, put them in the basket & let them set a while. And some things had to be starched! Late in the morning, Mom would set up her wooden ironing board (the only one she ever owned) and her steamy work would begin. When I was old enough she let me learn to iron by ironing her hanky's, and then later her pillowcases. I can still remember the smell of freshly iron shirts...
I was 15 years old when Mom found out that I was going to become a big sister one more time! Dad in his goodness decided it was time to update her laundry room. I'm thinking that he first bought her a clothes dryer and she still used the wringer washer. Then, when we moved away from Hallsville to our new home in Kansas, he bought her a washer to go along with the dryer. We still had a clothes line in our back yard, but little by little, Mom used it less, & finally Dad took it down.

We call them the "good day's", but they were hard days, even for the housewife of the 50's. It makes me ever so thankful that I can toss a small to large load of laundry in the washer, then when I hear the familiar "ding", know it is time to put them in the dryer. And in one morning my laundry can be done, and it smells & feels so nice. If I hurry when the dryer plays it's little "I'm finished" tune, I can hang up a few shirts and some of them may be ready to wear.

And then there is my ironing closet that I wouldn't want any of you to see. That is one of my drudgery's that never seems to be finished.

Monday we can start all over again! Or maybe tomorrow if my hamper is overflowing.


Karen Walden said...

Sounds like Grandma Brown had it pretty rough! Remember how long she had the same washer and dryer in Kansas City? I don't ever remember her having but just the one set!

How well I remember that old ironing board too. I remember getting so aggravated because I could never figure the crazy thing out! :) Does Carol have it now?

No set day for washing around here! Just when we run out of clean socks or undies!! (Just kidding!)

Sheila said...

Yes, Carol has that old ironing board somewhere around her house. I used to think I wanted to hang it on my laundry room wall! But, as you know, I tend to have too much clutter!

I remember getting aggrevated at that silly ironing board too. You had to "hold your mouth just right" or it woudn't unfold!

Oh, the stories that old board could tell.

I forget to tell that when I was in Bible School, I used to iron & do housecleaning for $1.25 an hour! I had one lady I would go to every week & would stand and iron for several hours for about $5.00! (That is also when I babysat for 50cents an hour.)

aaaaah...I'm telling my age!

Carol said...

I'm doing laundry now. UGH! I'm happy I only have three kids!

I do have Mom's old ironing board. It hasn't been used since it lived at Mom's house. I'd be happy to send it out to you for your laundry room wall! : )

Karen, I could bring it out for your to wrestle with if you'd like! I can't tell you how many times I fought with that thing in the 22 years I lived at home.

Lady J said...

Your post reminded me of laundry day at my Grandmother's house. I don't remember Mom having her own washing machine for many years while I was a preschooler. Why should she since her Mom had one? Anyway, we didn't have the basement to contend it. Remember when kids used to get their arms caught in the wringer? (big people did too!) I do prefer Downy to scrathy air dried towels,etc. Iron? That definately is not for me. I don't use my dryer for anything but towels, and things you can't see-you know, those unmentionables. And I hate doing laundry even with all the modern conveniences!

Sheila said... can hang on to the ole ironing for old times sake. Just don't get rid of it! :)

Janet...I do remember the danger of getting your arm caught in the wringer-but had forgotten about it. I also remember the old scrub board and vaguely remember Mom using one when I was about 5 or 6 years old.

Our Grandma Fulkerson "took in washings" during the depression & I'm sure she did ironing too.

I dry everything but things that I don't want to shrink. (Like MY clothes!) :)

Carol said...

Don't worry, Sis. I'll never let the old ironing board get out of my hands. Just let me know if you have a hankerin' to have it hanging on your wall.

Karen Walden said...

I want to know how Janet lets things air dry and then doesn't like to iron?! When I hang things dry, they are a wrinkled mess!!!

When the twins were babies, they had their own hamper full of dirty laundry, every other day. Ugh... It's not quite that bad now but definitely not my favorite household chore!!!

Sherry Gates said...

I never had a set laundry most people I HATE it so bad. I do a little (alot) everyday! Like you Sheila, I hate it when my clothes shrink! hmmm..I notice they shrink more after several days of baking!