Saturday, November 15, 2008


It is cold and windy here, with more to come, but it's hard to justify complaining when I see what LA north is going through. November is usually spring in California, with its mixed-up seasons, when the temperatures finally break and the rains come. LA residents aren't used to 100 degree temps, especially when the mayor advises power conservation. They are all in my thoughts tonight.

My day has been so exciting (not) as I overcome the mountain of laundry and get it all done. Blink! Almost all done. I feel like issuing an ultimatum, stating that anyone who drops laundry down the chute before tomorrow will get it back shredded. And crosscut too. It would be so nice to have even one night when I don't have to wait to go to bed until the current load is in the dryer. I remember when my grandmother used a wringer washer to do laundry. It had two tubs on wheels, with a mangle in between. (A mangle being rollers to squeeze the water out)(and bad news indeed to be mangled-- it essentially mean squeezed and broken up). Anyway, the way it worked was, you filled both tubs with hot water (heated on the stove most likely) and in one of them you put soap powder (store bought) or shaved bits off a big block of lye soap (homemade). You put all the underclothes in the soapy water and churned at it. I seem to remember her washer had an electric motor to turn the mangle and to stir the clothes, but I'm not sure. You then mangled the under things into the other tub, rinsed, and then mangled them fairly dry to hang on the clothes line. Then you washed the next most dirty things, shirts, aprons, dresses and so forth. You washed the really grubby stuff like overalls and dungarees last. When the rinse tub became too soapy to rinse much, well, that tub became the wash tub with a little more soap and hot water, and you drained the original wash tub and filled it up with clean water to become the rinse tub. Back and forth you'd go, with trips to the laundry line in between. If it was winter, or inclement weather, Grandma still did the washing on the back porch, but hung the clothes to dry on lines strung in the unfinished bedroom above the dining room. And when I say unfinished, I mean it had no floor, just exposed beams with loose boards over it, and a few bare light bulbs strung on wire and one window to see by. I hated going in there, I was sure I'd put my foot through the dining room ceiling or maybe fall all the way through and then there would hell to pay, because my grandfather was an unforgiving man. So all in all, you wore your clothes several days, stinky or not, and they had to be made of good stout material. But you didn't have many changes of clothes, maybe only three sets in poorer families, two for everyday to switch off when one was dirty, and a Sunday best (which wasn't all that best, since all of it was hand-me-downs unless you were the oldest).

My aunt told me about their shoes. They only had one pair apiece. Before school would start, Grandpa would go to town and buy 5 pairs of shoes, come home, and give one pair to each child. But he just guessed at the size, take it or leave it, and one year my aunt said the shoes were too small. But there was no returning, she just had to wear the shoes from last year. It struck me as odd, given what a tightwad Grandpa was, that he wouldn't bring the kids to town to have them try on the shoes to be sure he got his money's worth. But then I thought, maybe Grandpa wouldn't want the kids along -- with wife -- because maybe he had other "business" to see to that he wouldn't want disclosed.

All this happened here in West Virginia, about 90 miles south of where we live now, a modern small city with a university and medical school, research, all of that, and just miles from this bitty little town where the black population is zero. But more about that in another post.

Bumper Sticker for today: "Eve was framed"

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