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My Blog

Wash Day

Good morning to everyone out there in cyber world.
Well this morning finally has some sun shining up there.  What a pleasant change from the past few days.  The only problem now is the Temperature.  A bit on the nippy side.  I hope that later it will warm up.  I don't quite remember these types of erratic temperatures here before.  Perhaps one summer back in the 80's when there was one summer that when my children were young, there was hardly ever a day for them to go swimming. 
As long as I am venturing back in time..36 years ago today...at 11:26 AM, I gave birth to a beautiful little baby girl.  .  Happy Birthday Val...hope you are happy where ever you are!  Don't think that we don't think about you...even though we are apart...I remember you are always in my heart  and never will I forget the days we used to have together.
Now to go on with Wash Day.  If you are asking yourself why I chose wash Day as a topic....my answer would be because yesterday I made Laundry detergent.    Not many of you out there would be making your own Laundry detergent and might be wondering why someone would do such a thing.  Well, first of all, it takes all of about 15 minutes in total to do it.  2 hours of cooling time...but I just went on to do something else.  Secondly, One batch makes 2 full quarts of detergent and I only use 1 Tablespoon per load of laundry.  Thirdly, because the detergent is not only the best there is to do laundry, it is the best grease and dirt cleaner around.  I cannot even begin to tell you how great it is on cleaning walls, cabinets, and those greasy stoves and grates.  It hasn't any odor that offends my sensitive nose..  I am not breathing in any toxic substance and it reminds me of days gone by. 
Growing up....Laundry day was much more complicated than it is today.  I remember a washtub in the basement where Grandma soaked the more difficult stained pieces.  We would use a scrub board to scrub the clothes and from there they would go into the wringer washing machine.  That machine washed clothes great, but I must admit, it was one, pretty scary contraption.  My grandmother would let me help her with the wash board, but it took a while before I was able to help with the wringer.  She warned me over and over again to be careful not to get my fingers caught in the wringer.  She taught me how to start the clothes to go through and how to quickly remove my hands from the 2 rollers.  She told me all kinds of stories about how women got their fingers caught and lost them  in that piece of appliance.    There were two main soaps I remembered Grandma using back then.  One was Lava soap.  It has some pumice in the soap.  She would put socks on her hands, wet the sock and scrub the dirty bottoms with the Lava soap.  she used it on the collars of shirts as well.  It really did a great job back then and still works well for me these days .  I keep a bar of it down by the laundry machine.  The other bar of soap was Fels Naphtha.  Grandma always referred to it as dog soap.  Pretty much because that is what we used when we washed the dogs outside in the yard.  But the best part was using it for laundry.  It really doesn't have a particular odor...it just made things smell clean    And that doesn't mean scented...for those of you who today would associate clean with a particular scent like lemon or lavender.  She used to make detergent as well.  Although sometime, back in the day when TV came into our lives, Grandma would succumb to buying a boxed detergent...mostly because they would come with a towel inside. And of course....she had to buy enough boxes to get the matching set of towels.  If I remember correctly, they came in different sizes so that you could get different sized towels.  I also remember that they were striped. I believe there were 2 of them...one was Duz and the other was Oxydol.  There were other products that also included dishes and glasses.  Grandma used things like Bluing to make the whites really white and of course there was Linco which she had delivered by the Linco man. For those of you who may be wondering what Linco is...it was a type of bleach used back then. 
After the laundry was washed, it went into a wicker laundry basket.  We would carry it upstairs.  On our enclosed back porch, the window would open and the screens would open out and we had a laundry line on a pulley. We would hang the laundry out,  Clothes pinning each piece and then pushing the line out to hang the next piece.  Other neighbors hung the same way and others had laundry lines hung on poles on the ground. 
It was really a story on a line...you could always know what was going on in your neighbors home by what hung on the line.  You knew if they had special company by the linens that hung out...they would only use the best when they had  company.  You could tell if someone was sick by the amount of pajamas and towels.  You knew people's jobs by the uniforms.  You knew if there was a new baby by the diapers and so on.
When the laundry was dry, it was removed and placed back in the laundry basket and set next to the ironing board that was on the back porch as well. 
I remember having my child's ironing board  and iron right next to my Grandmas.  I would pretend to iron my doll clothes until finally the day came and Grandma allowed me to iron for real.  My first job was to learn to iron and to fold handkerchiefs.  And I started with my grandfathers handkerchiefs because they were bigger and eventually graduated to the delicate and lacy and or crocheted ones.  Hence my now collection of those wonderful handkerchiefs.  I now have well over 800., and have researched them so that now I have  a storytelling program about the history of handkerchiefs.  Who would ever imagine that there is so much history behind them.  Every thing in life comes to a full circle.  My programs often are provoked by a childhood memory.  Laundry...memories...good clean fun! 
 

1 Comment to Wash Day:

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PL Gas Appliance on Wednesday, July 02, 2014 7:13 AM
Thank you, I have been searching for info about this subject for ages and yours is the best I’ve located so far.
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