"These happy golden years are passing by, these happy golden years." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Laundry Day Memories


Yesterday I posted about a laundry episode I'd like soon to forget. But today, I'm a bit melancholy and find pleasant memories surfacing about my grandma Donna. She had her laundry room right in her kitchen. At one point, the washer and dryer were hidden in a closet that protruded from a side wall. Someone took down the enclosure which opened up the kitchen a bit and gave her "counter space" by using the tops of the washer and dryer. Grandma always had a certain day of the week for laundry. Half of her items were hung outside on the line ... but she preferred her towels to go in the dryer. My job in all of this was ironing the pillowcases and grandpa's white hankies. There were never any missing socks as she washed his dress socks and her support hose out by hand. The clothes line was always wiped down before use ... because she fed day old bread to the sparrows (I don't need to explain that one). My bestest treat would be to spend the night and have freshly line dried and pressed sheets. Imagine a kid today appreciating such a thing. Her washing machine from the 1960's is (last I knew) still being used by the elderly lady that bought my grandparent's home a few years ago (must have been a Maytag, ya think). She always insisted that the machine would last longer by not overfilling it with laundry ... she may have been on to something. Of course, she didn't have to do the mounds of clothes I have washed raising my brood. My dad's mom had an electric wringer type washer down in her cellar. To my best recollection, she didn't have a dryer, but hung EVERYTHING outside ... or in the basement to dry in the winter. She made her own lye soap and had a big smooth stick she'd use to swish the soap in the water before adding the laundry. Ironing everything was a must ... she worked tirelessly to keep up with the work at hand. My memories of her include a large garden she tended and loads of canning equipment down in the cellar including the fruit of her labor. My favorite were her canned beans. Nothing went to waste. Have to run and put the cars in the garage ... it's snowing again. Care to share a special memory of your grandma (or grandpa)? I'd love to reminisce with you.

6 comments:

Pat said...

I really don't have memories of my grandmothers..one died when I was a toddler and I didn't have much contact with the other.
However, I do share those memories of my own mother hanging clothes out to dry, she too wiped down the clothes line before hanging anything. She ironed EVERYTHING, which was wonderful~nothing like sheets and pillow cases air dried and ironed. She even ironed my dads work t-shirts. I still will occasionally run an iron over my pillowcases, just to get the sharp crease that reminds me of my childhood and the day when things were done with loving care.
Can you tell you really hit a cord in my memory!?

Terry said...

Dear Mrs. Mac...I have to agree with Pat.
I will have to tell you about my mother.
Although I had a few grammas, we never saw them a whole lot because of Dad's being in the air force and we were too far away.

My mom used to do a lot of laundry during the week and like I told you, she used the wringer washer. .very bad on buttons.. very bad on kids hands if they went into the wringer...very dangerous... BUT they produced the whitest clothes in the whole neighborhood!
Mom used to hang the clothes on the line, summer and winter.
In the winter they used to be frozen solid when she took them off the line.
I mean the pants and dresses and socks could stand up on their own!
Mom used to put the dry clothes into the large freezer that we hsd because that way when she took them out they would just be perfect for ironing.
The ironing was Betty's and my job and I disliked it very much!
I am so glad that we have dryers now-a-days and the materials don't need ironing!......Love Terry

Deb said...

My Mom had a wringer washer --it was my job to wring the clothes and hang them on the freshly wiped clothes lines --outside in summer --in the basement in the winter. And yes, there is nothing like freshly laundered and air dried sheets from the clothesline!

(p.s. you weren't supposed to notice the photo of my mouth...)

;)

Mrs. Diamond said...

my memories of both my grandmas are in the kitchen .... baking bread or making greek salad. they both loved to cook and were happy doing so. which was a mystery to me. i am a good cook but i don't really enjoy it...just want to hurry and get it over with...

Pat said...

One more memory since you got me to thinking...my mom also "sprinkled" her clothes with water, and put them in a plastic bag to dampen them before she ironed them. Must have been before steam irons!

Maggie Ann said...

I think she's right about not overfilling the washer. My hubby replaced the top part of our washer (Maytag) 3 times now. It cracked under strain...I thought they should of given us a new one but>>>. My favorite Grandma was very poor and lived in one room of a boarding house in the city. I loved her something fierce. She was the only adult I can remember that lavished me with love. We had a special love for each other. she died of cancer when I was 16. For many years after her death, if I saw someone in a crowd that looked like her, I wanted to run after them.