Laundry Day - Public Domain Photo
Here is another thing from times gone by.
My Mama had no idea that her life would change as much as it did when she married Daddy. She was a city girl and he was a country boy. She grew up modestly, but with the usual amenities that you find in houses today.
After her first year of marriage and after I was born, my parents moved to the farm. There were no modern conveniences there, and soon there were a lot more kids. Mama found herself doing laundry on a washboard alongside my aunt.
Mamaw’s (my daddy’s mother) washhouse was off limits, so Mama and Aunt Aileen would do the wash on a table out back by the outhouse. They would have washtubs and rub boards set up on laundry day. The two of them would have to empty the tubs into the outhouse from time-to-time, and draw clean water from the well about twenty feet away. I am sure the wash conversation went something like this.
Wash Tub and Scrub Board - Free Clipart
Aunt Aileen would say, “I’ve been doing this kind of stuff all of my life, but I hope to have something better someday.” Aileen’s hair was dark and curly. She was a bigger boned woman than Mama, who looked frail with her narrow shoulders and five-foot-one-inch frame.
Being a sharecropper’s daughter, Aunt Aileen was the only girl in a family of boys. She grew up quite differently from Mama. Aileen’s family was working on the family farm when she met my Daddy’s brother, Clayton, and married him at thirteen. By the time she was twenty, she had six kids.
“Oh look at this stain. It won’t come out,” Mama said, as she scrubbed harder, her hands red and chapped from being in water so much. “I just can’t keep those kids out of the mud when it rains,” she added. A slight puff of wind blew a lock of fair hair into her face. It felt so good on a hot day like this when the humidity hung thick in the air.
Mama knew she would never keep us out of the muddy ditches, but she hoped for a washer one day, any kind of washer would do. She wasn’t fussy.
After scrubbing, rinsing and wringing, Mama and my aunt would hang the laundry up on wire lines that stretched across the yard, using wood clothespins that waited in a cloth laundry bag.
Laundry - Free Clipart
Wringer Washer - Free Clipart