Monday, May 21, 2007

A Merry Monday

You always hear about "Monday Blues" or that Monday is "Wash Day" and although today, with automatic washers and dryers, "Wash Day" is a whole lot different from what it was when I was a kid and even more so from what it was when my mother was a child.
In my Mom's day, my grandmother had my uncle haul water from a well, to fill her tubs on the coal stove so she could heat the water to boiling then just to get the process started. When I was a child, my grandmother still did the bulk of the laundry for our family which consisted of my Mom, my grandparents and me. However, we did have running water into the house by that time and a washing machine although it was probably at least 25-30 years old then and was an old wringer washer.
Mondays though were always "Wash Day." Grandma would begin by emptying the hamper in the hall upstairs. Then she would strip all the beds and the sheets and pillow cases were the first things to be washed. After that, it went by color what got washed next. There was no dryer though other than the clothes line in the back yard and by late morning, she always managed to have everything out on the line and if it was a nice day, by the time the last load was ready to hang out to dry, the sheets and pillowcases were usually ready to come down.
All the clothes were then "sprinkled" and rolled up, placed neatly in the clothes basket where they would sit over night for her to begin the next phase in the work of keeping clean bedding, towels and clothes for us as Tuesday, she always ironed.
Although I have a very nice steam iron, to be honest, I don't know where the ironing board is now as it has been what seems almost like an eternity since I ironed anything, much less everything. Grandma ironed sheets, pillowcases and even the towels and washclothes as well as all the clothes we were back then. Since that was back in the days before spray starch too, making sure the clothes had a nice stiffness to them meant they also got treated to an extra process while being washed as well. Oh - and I almost forgot about the "blueing." She always had a large basin of water with this blue stuff she poured in there which I guess was a type of mild bleach or whitener of some type too that certain items of our wardrobe also always got a dip in the blueing solution before being rinsed out, put through the wringer for the last time that wash cycle and hung out to dry!
I can't imagine even going back to doing laundry today with all those steps to the process, plus the wringer washer and hanging everything out on the clothes line to boot, can you?
And I sure can't think of Monday in my grandmother's day as being anything but a long, very drawn-out, hard-labor process called WORK, can you?
Now, laundry is generally done every day of the week in our house. My daughter handles the laundry process now because I can't balance a basket of clothes to carry it down the cellar steps since there is no handrail there and my legs don't deal too kindly with lots of steps unless I have something to hold on to - for dear life too!
Today though became -for our family - a "Merry Monday" though not because of laundry and housework; cleaning, and stuff like that but rather because of an e-mail I received today that contained some very exciting news. It also had three photographs in it too.
My cousin Becky - who is the youngest of the grandchildren on my Mom's side of my family - had forwarded an e-mail from her niece's husband with the announcement of "It's a Girl!"
Beck's oldest brother Ken and his wife Laura's older daughter had given birth this past Saturday morning to a 7 pound 6 ounce, 19 1/2 inch little girl. Their first grandchild! I've been teasing Ken for the past couple of years now about the day he and Laura become grandparents and now, that day has arrived. Their son-in-law - Wade - had included three photos of the little one - one with her Momma, Erika, one of little Victoria Marie - or Tori - as they plan to call her and the third was of a very, very proud father, holding his firstborn. And what a beautiful little girl she is too!
What made me think of laundry days of old -of my grandmother's era- and this new life coming into our extended family? Maybe just the differences this little girl will experience in her lifetime to those her great-great-grandmother had to deal with as she raised six children under some really rough conditions not quite a century ago. I honestly don't know how my Grandma did it - all the work of keeping up with her own family and she also took in laundry for people around the little town where the family lived then as well as sewing almost all the clothes for her own family, she also did sewing for others too.
With all that, plus the regular housework, cooking meals with no microwave, just an old coal cookstove - no refrigerator either - somehow she managed to fed, cloth, clean up after, wash clothes for, bake her own bread too and still had time left over when she sat down in the evening hours to either keep her hands busy crocheting fancy doilies, even a huge formal sized tablecloth that was her pride and joy for many, many years but she also made quilts -cutting and piecing the squares and triangles and other shapes meticulously cut-out from scrap materials, into beautiful designs that she then labored over, placing stitch after perfect stitch in place to quilt the top to the batting and backing and produce some remarkable pieces of handicrafted work.
And, she continued doing the quilting, as well as some of the fancy crochet until about two years before she died at the age of 82 in 1963.
It's just something that amazes me - the life my grandmother led to the life her little great-great-granddaughter will be able to live in the years to come. And, I think how grateful I am that little Tori as well as my granddaughter, Maya, will not have to endure the hardships their great-great-grandmother had to deal with.
How about you?
Isn't it amazing how much easier we have things today and yet, although we have all these time saving, labor saving devices to use, how many of us get as much accomplished in a day's time compared to what our grandmother's before us were able to do under much, much, MUCH harsher conditions.
Remind me never to cry or whine about having too much work to do ever again!
And now, to remind everyone of what we do have today - here's the Bushism for Tuesday, May 22, 2007! (I'm trying to get ahead a bit in the work I have to do - therefore, I'm posting the Bushism a little ahead of time. LOL - That theory will last perhaps till midnight tonight before I am behind again!)

"I understand there's a suspicion that we -- we're too security-conscience." - Washington, D.C.; April 16, 2005. (And by the way - the last two words of the quote is not a misspelling or typo - that's the correct quote for the day.)


BB Tan said...

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Debo Blue said...

I remember the wringing washing machine because when I was very young my mom bought one that was being sold in the local Goodwill.

Momma swore up and down that using this washing machine would get her clothes cleaner than the new one in the shed.

I loved using the wringer at first but after having to help w/all those loads, I began to hate it. Now I wish we still had one...just as a relic.

Shelby said...

Yesterday was my wash day! well I did a little this morning too...

take care and happy Tuesday!

Mz Jackson said...

It really is amazing how much women got done back then, and all without complaining! I think most of all today we take running hot and cold water for granted. I'll bet back then, they didn't waste a drop if they could help it.
Thanks for stopping by my blog!

TomCat said...

I grew up with a wringer too. Dang, jeni. You dated us! ;-)