Thursday, October 6, 2011

31 Days: Grandma's Wisdom~ Wash Day

This post is a part of the 31 Day challenge, to see more of these posts click on THIS link!

I know my Grandma didn't have a lot of money.  I think it's why she took great pride in the few nice things they owned.  One of those things just happened to be a glass washboard.
When I asked her to try and recall the first washing machine she ever used, she just shook her head... not recalling the detail. (I wish I could have seen her face the first time she saw one though! Imagine a machine doing the work of washing your clothes for you.)   She did however mention once again that they were lucky enough to own a glass washboard...

 "You know, they didn't tear your clothes up the way those metal ones did"
 she says to me.

It makes me reflective of my own wash day habits as compared to Grandma's childhood chores.  I've written many posts about laundry.  I call it "The Hamster Wheel" because it seems to never end.  As a homemaker it's one of the tasks that seems to always be calling my name.  I grumble and complain about "mount laundry", but I can do an exorbitant amount of laundry in a relatively short amount of time. I not only have a machine to do my washing for me, but a dryer to make them all fluffy, warm and (if I get them out fast enough) somewhat unwrinkled! When I let myself dwell on it, I picture my Grandma's wash day something like this:

She steps out onto the front porch early Saturday morning. The day is warm, but the Oklahoma breeze is already moving the grasses.  Laundry calls her name and the muscles in her back tighten in response.  It's wash day.  The wash tub needs to be filled and so she puts on water to boil.  Separating the whites from the colors, then separating the dirtiest from the not so quite as dirty.  Grabbing the soap and the large basin she heads out to the well.  Then she takes another trip to get the second basin for the rinsing, and the washboard.  Checks the line to make sure it's tight.  Pulls apron overhead, pockets heavy with clothes pins.  One by one she dips items into sudsy water, the weight of it doubling in her hands...Rad-da-da, rad-da-da, rad-da-da... up and down up and down, one by one, piece by piece, pausing only to rinse, ring, hang, and repeat.  The tedium, the ache in her back, the soreness in her strong tanned arms.  (I wonder if she would have hummed a tune not unlike Cinderella scrubbing the floors) Wash, rinse, ring, hang.  Work pants caked with dirt. Wash, rinse, ring, hang. Socks sweaty from worn boots.  Wash, rinse, ring, hang.  Undergarments filthy. Wash, rinse, ring, hang. Shirts stiff from being worn over and over all week. Wash, rinse, ring, hang.  And at last she empties the water from the tub for the last time that day.  Wind has done it's job.  Sun has baked clothes crisp.  Clothespins removed and replaced in apron pockets ready for their job next time.  Piles of clothes, bedding, and undergarments piled high ready to be ironed smooth and used again this week.  She looks up at the sky and sees a brightly pained pink silhouetting the clouds...

Oh how different her experience must have been from my own... may I never forget and my words reflect my gratitude!

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