|Credit: Credit: smalltownimages.com|
These are much sought after plant containers for the garden these days! Wish I had the one my mother used. Wonder what happened to it? Probably wore out from all the use it got!
I can picture in my mind that old wringer washer that sat on the little back porch behind our kitchen. Come rain, shine or the coldest of winter days, Monday was still wash day.
Once the clothes were scrubbed, washed, rinsed and sent through the wringer, it was time for the starch tub – powered starch mixed with boiling water and stirred until smooth (I remember how good it smelled). Through the wringer again and ready for the clothesline.
There were some basic clothesline rules which went something like this:
- Socks were hung by the toes... NOT the top.
- Pants were hung by BOTTOM/cuffs... NOT the waistbands.
- The clothesline(s) were cleaned before hanging any clothes. You would walk the entire length of each line, damp cloth in hand, removing the dust.
- Clothes were hung in a certain order; "whites" with "whites," and hang them first.
- Shirt were hung by the shoulders – never by the tail! What would the neighbors think?
- Wash day was Monday! NEVER hang clothes on the weekend, or on Sunday, for Heaven's sake!
- Sheets and towels were hung on the OUTSIDE lines so you could hide your "unmentionables" in the middle.
- It didn't matter if it was sub-zero weather... clothes would "freeze-dry."
- Clothespins were ALWAYS gathered when taking down dry clothes! Pins left on the lines were "tacky" and besides, they would mold!
- Clothes were lined up so that each item did not need two clothes pins, but shared one of the clothes pins with the next washed item.
- Clothes were taken off of the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket. The starched items were sprinkled down and placed in a large plastic bag, ready for ironing. During very hot weather, my mother placed the bag in the refrigerator if there was space; if not, in the freezer! This was to prevent mildew.
- IRONING. An entire day’s work performed on Tuesday.
Here’s a poem going around the Internet about wash day which insprired this blog about wash day:
A clothesline was a news forecast,
To neighbors passing by,
There were no secrets you could keep,
When clothes were hung to dry.
It also was a friendly link,
For neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by,
To spend a night or two.
For then you'd see the "fancy sheets",
And towels upon the line;
You'd see the "company table cloths",
With intricate designs.
The line announced a baby's birth,
From folks who lived inside,
As brand new infant clothes were hung,
So carefully with pride!
The ages of the children could,
So readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed,
You'd know how much they'd grown!
It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe too,
Haphazardly were strung.
It also said, "On vacation now",
When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, "We're back!" when full lines sagged,
With not an inch to spare!
New folks in town were scorned upon,
If wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows,
And looked the other way.
But clotheslines now are of the past,
For dryers make work much less.
Now what goes on inside a home,
Is anybody's guess!
I really miss that way of life,
It was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best...
By what hung out on that line.
My mother actually thought she was lucky to have a wringer washer; she remembered the days of building a wood fire under an iron pot in the backyard and washing clothes there with a bar of lye soap. This is something she had to do in the early years of her marriage, during World War II, when it was impossible to buy a washing machine.
But she, like others, welcomed the day when she got her first "automatic washing machine."
We take a lot for granted these days, don't we? Wash any day of the week, any time of the night or day. And clothes drying on a line are rarely seen anymore.
But the clothes dried there smell so good!