If not, you might consider it.
I truly am so appreciative of my washer and dryer. We are fortunate to have a very nice front-loader and dryer that we purchased several years ago during a Thanksgiving Sale. It was one of the best purchases (I think) we’ve ever made. I can’t even describe how much easier it makes my daily life.
Feeling discouraged about your Huge Laundry Pile this Monday morning? Be encouraged instead, as things could be much more difficult:
I am soon going to be a Mama to four little people under the age of six. I can’t even begin to imagine how mamas-to-many carved out time – and energy! – to wash laundry back in earlier times.
This recipe for ‘warshing’ clothes makes me even more grateful of how ‘easy’ I have it. I literally have to sort clothes into piles, load them in the machine and then push a few buttons. No cracked hands from scrubbing, no exhaustion from lugging big, heavy water pots and no burned arms from boiling water.
Here are a few quotes from the Ohio Department of Aging that I found regarding washing clothes during the Depression:
“I can remember my mother carrying buckets of water, scrubbing her hands raw on a scrub board. She saved every penny so she could buy yard goods to make dresses for my sisters and me. Every stitch was made by hand. When I started to school, I had a new dress. My mother would sit up all night making it. ”
– Margaret Byrum, age 83, Chillicothe
“My mom was a non-complaining mother. She kept us fed and clothed and taught us how to sew on buttons, how to sew the holes in the toes of our socks and how to iron our clothes. Ironing involved two heavy irons heated on the kitchen cook stove. No easy task. Mom washed our clothes on a scrub board in a big tub. We used rain water when available. We caught the water from the roof gutter downspouts in big wash tubs. Eventually she did have a washer. Winter or summer, she always hung our clothes out to dry. She never had a dryer. She would stand our frozen long underwear against the wall behind the stove to thaw.”
– Ralph W. Dennings, age 87, Saint Marys
“Laundry was an all day affair. Water was pumped from the well and heated on a wood stove. We did good whites first, light colored clothes next, household linens, work clothes and darks last. This was all done in a wash tub with a wash board. Everything was rinsed, rung out by hand, and hung up to dry – outside in warm weather and inside in cold weather. Then there was ironing: a flat iron heated on the wood stove. We only had one pair of shoes; they were kept for good wear and cold weather. Most of us kids walked barefoot to school until cold weather. One fall day, we walked the mile-and-a-quarter to school, barefooted. While in school, it snowed. We ran all the way home barefoot in the snow.”
– Laverne Hillyer Fifer, age 92, Northwood
“My Mom and the women in town washed clothes with a wringer washer or scrub board and boiled clothes in a copper boiler over a wood stove that heated water. You used a large, long wood stick to lift the white clothes out, then put the others in. Even in winter, you hung them on the line, they froze, but when brought in to dry, they smelled like washing never smells today.”
– Geraldine Vincenzo Szymialis, age 81, Flushing
I think we’re all plagued with taking our lives for granted at times. It’s part of living in America. But today, I am purposefully grateful for devices that make my life easier. And that includes my washer and dryer.
(My friend, Linda sent me this recipe. Her mama found it scrawled on a piece of paper and Linda put it in this nice format with the picture. Thanks again, Linda for your thoughtfulness!)
I love my washer and dryer. For the first 3 years I was married I did not have a either. When I had my first, I used to walk to the laundromat with my dirty laundry in the baby buggy (I didn’t have a car). It was such a pain with all the dirty laundry a baby generates (to top it off she was born in February!) I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I had my second. By then I had a washer and dryer 🙂
I hug Pete and Sally (my washer and dryer) every single time I use them. God knew what he was doing when he decided to put me on Earth in 1976 instead of 1876.
Laundry is one of the chores I have the hardest time finishing, and I feel weak when I think of how easy it really is. I posted an 1851 washing recipe awhile back:
I actually love to “wash” but very glad I do not have to do it by hand!
Nony (A Slob Comes Clean)
Wow, what a gem that “recipe” is! Love this post. Such great perspective on how good we have it.