Monday Monday, Washday Washday (ms)

I like predictability in life, at least to some extent. There is always room for the excitement of a new find, a new way of doing something, an “Ah Ha” moment and they are all welcome provided they come at the right time. The “Ah Ha” moments that bounce me out of bed at night, I can do without those. Knowing that something is going to be where you expect it to be has its rewards; it’s comforting I think and much less stressful — it also helps to define life.

Somebody uploaded an image of a ringer washer to Face Book the other day and when I saw it my mind started to wander not that it takes much to get it moving. The old washer pictured in that photo made me remember washday, which always occurred on Monday. I don’t know why that was so beyond the fact that the rest of the week already had designated days for cleaning, baking and such and Monday was the only one open.

At any rate it was quite the project compared to these days. There is still ironing to do of course but the machines are essentially set and forget, they even signal you when they’re finished. The old ringer washer was nowhere near as convenient.

The system involved the washer and two tubs each with clean water. The machine washed a load, the ringer was brought around and the clean clothes put through it dropping into the first tub to be rinsed and pushed through the ringer again into the second tub. There was one more trip through the ringer into a clothes basket before they were ready to go out on the line.

The first load of clothes was always the white stuff for the water needed to be at its cleanest. See, the machine was not automatic and so to avoid emptying and refilling it a half dozen times the system called for progressively dirty clothing to go through. By the time the kitchen carpets were done the water was so dirty you could have planted a garden in it. In the beginning, though, were the whites, the brilliant flags that hung on the line signaling another washday.

The whites on the line were truly a sight to see especially if it was the day for sheets. The huge squares of white waving and flapping in the breeze were so bright that one had to squint when near them. The clothes that came out later were hung to the rear of the whites just because that’s how it worked out but I thought also that the lady of the house did not want to detract from the glory of the sheets. They would allow her family to rest in comfort surrounded by the fine scent of line-dried clothing and there is pride in knowing that important job has been done well. One could not bask in the glories for too long, however; Tuesday, as I recall, was the day to iron.

—Mike Stevens

~ by admin on April 30, 2012.

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