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June 14, 2011

1950's wash day memories of home



 Saturdays were wash days at our house and with five kids, it was also a big job and mom would have us all pitching in to help.    I’m not sure how the water got into the tub,  but think mom used a hose that was hooked up to the incoming water that dad had added n adapter to for this purpose, when they hooked up the house to running water in the 1950's  . After we washed a piece of clothing in the electric wash tub, we ran it through the “ringer” on the top to mash (or wring) all the water out. It took several hours to finish all the clothes, because back then you only washed once or maybe twice in a week. So we had to start early in the morning so we’d have time for not only the washing but also the drying.Mom would have us sort clothing, whites first, blue jeans and work pants last..if the water started looking dirty, we would change the water by emptying the tub out from a hose underneath the washer into a floor sand pit drain. a special bluing was added to whites to make them "look whiter " looking mom said, and Argo Starch to dad's dress shirts..   After wringing all the water out of the clothes in a separate galvanized wash tub( using the same wringer again, , we then put them in a wash basket and moved on to the clothesline. ( I remember this was heavy and Karen and I would each take a side to carry it up the stairs to the back yard. )The clothes were hung on the clotheslines with clothespins and stayed there until just before sundown so they would get good and dry.rain or shine year round..Saturday was wash day. ( we also had a line in the basement if needed .)    Talk about some stiff towels !  Another thing I remember is that we would have to wash off the grime on the wired lines before hanging up clothes.I suppose back in the days of coal burning furnaces, soot did get on the lines outside. The clothes were taken off the line, taken into the house, folded and put away. They had a wonderful smell after being in the fresh air all day. All in a good day’s work!! Just think about all the factors that had to be right for wash days. We really have it made now, you know? Of course, what wash line was complete without a cute clothespin bag? I think ours was an ordinary one though that mom had bought at the grocery store..a thick cotton white with red advertising on it. Some times we would leave the pins clipped to her lines, which she didn't really like us to do, as "they will get dirty"  .
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