Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Laundry Days

The last two days have been  blustery with winds leftover from Hurricane Sandy finally making their way this far west.  Our temperatures have been in the mid-40's during the day which isn't too bad, but the wind somehow manages to find a way through all my layers of clothes no matter what I wear.

Since we had such an enthusiastic 20-30 mph breeze on hand, I decided to hang my laundry out on the wash lines on Monday.  Actually, I got the idea from my mother when I drove by her house on the way to exercise class and saw her sheets already flapping on the lines by 9 AM.   All the while I was hopping around at exercise class, I was thinking about the laundry.  My friend Nancy agreed with me; there's nothing like line-dried laundry.
Flapping in the breeze.
I got home by 11:30 and had the laundry out by 1PM.  Steam was rising from the laundry basket and every wet hunk of clothing as I hung them up; it was a bit cool out.   Mid-afternoon was too late in the day to have the wash dry completely this time of the year, but with no rain in sight, it dried beautifully by Tuesday.   I love my solar dryer.  (I don't have any other kind.)

And neither does my mother.

Mom and I both still use wringer washers.

In case you don't know what a wringer washer looks like, in the photo below is my wringer:

Ain't she a beaut?
Never leave the wringer's rubber rollers together when not in use.  The rubber will stick together and the rollers will be damaged. 
 I know you will all want to take notes on the proper usage of wringer washers.  I'm here to help, grab some paper and a pen, this won't take long. 
There she is, my circa 1950's Maytag.  I'm circa 1958, so we have a lot in common.

The Elusive Lucille has always owned Speed Queen washers.  Hers is also circa 1950-something.  Mom is circa 1920, so to her, this is a rather new machine.
Oh, what's that?  You're not interested in learning to wash clothes in one of these?  You don't want to run your fingers (or other 'parts', tee hee) through the wringer?  Don't worry, your fingers will learn right quick to steer clear of the rollers.  And once you wrap a bath towel around both the top and bottom rollers at the same time, you'll be SO proud of your cussing skills and new-found upper body strength when it comes time to pry them out.  Oh, I forgot.... you get to master the stairs, too, because you have to hoist all that wet laundry up the steps and out to the wash lines.   It's a workout, folks. 

   I can hear you now; 'Why don't you buy your 92 year old mother a nice, new machine?  Or, better yet, do her laundry for her??'

Because.

 If you knew my mother, you'd know why.  She wouldn't hear of it, that's why.  She has nothing but the utmost disdain for automatic washing machines.  To her, they are wasteful of water, laundry detergent and time.  And the same goes for dryers, too.  We both still hang our laundry in the basement during the winter. 

And she insists on doing her own laundry, thank you very much.  When I tell her I can help her wash clothes, she gets an attitude.   Yes, even 92 year-old ladies can tell you to 'talk to the hand'....it's not just a teen-age thing. 
Mom won't listen to talk about new-fangled machines.
Mom says doing the laundry keeps her young.  She has a system for taking the baskets up the steps by placing the basket one step up at a time until she's at the top.

How long will she be able to handle all this work?  I don't know.  But I do know this:

I'm blessed.

Mom and Pudding.

16 comments:

Sueb said...

Oh! I remember the old ringer type gizmo we had one when I was a little girl ours was a hand mangle the washing was done in a big old copper and hulled through the mangle into the wash basket. We lived in a second floor flat so we went down the stairs to the garden then up the steps to the garden behind the building. They don't build them like that now. Machines like that were built to last.

Your Mom is amazing! I hope I’m as active and still going strong when I get to here age Lovely photo of Elusive Lucille and Pudding.

Carol said...

Yes to still have your mom, you are blessed. Mine passed away in 2001 and I still miss her so much everyday! She was only 72 so some times I feel alittle "ripped off" if you know what I mean. I could still use her wisdom, plant knowledge and humor. Have a great day! Carol

Pamela Gordon said...

That is so amazing that you and your mother both still use wringer washers! What a 'green' idea! I remember our wringer washer when I was growing up and I remember the day Dad bought Mum an electric washer. We never owned a dryer so the clothes got hung on the clothesline or in the basement or on a folding dryer rack in the kitchen. I think your mother is quite a spunky lady! Great post!

Chad B said...

I wish I could give your mom a hug. She seems like she's quite a character.

Missy said...

I think you can credit your Mum with giving you tenacity and strength (and your sense of humour), as well as the love of the wringer washing machine. She's a very special lady.

El Gaucho said...

Please pass along a hearty "go on with your bad self" to Lucille from all of us in North Dakota.

Shirley said...

I grew up using a washer like this! I recall wrestling it to remove some item that rolled up with the rollers! It's funny now to recall but not so much then!

I admire your mom! No wonder she is so fit!

Sandy said...

I have never used a wringer washer or
ever had one in my family homes.. it's amazing yours is still going strong but
most of us are spoiled and just toss the laundry in and walk away until it's done. What I'm after is a washer that does it all and folds...haha As for a clothes line, never used one of those either..
Bless your mom and how wonderful you still have her in your life. I sure miss mine but have such wonderful memories of our time together..
Nice post
Sandy

Dandelion and Daisy said...

I always love how you tell a story! Makes me think I should run out and get myself a wringer washer! I'm sure Craigslist is only place you could buy one these days. They were a part of my life at one time but, unlike you Mom, I'm lazy and have the washer/dryer combo thing. I do use the clothes line in the summer....cause things just smell soooo good when they have dried on the line!

Tufa Girl said...

I remember the wringer washer from when I was in high school. Mashed my fingers a time or two. I also remember being lazy and leaving a dark colored dress (that I had made) on the line for 2 days, it was nicely sun bleached where the pleats hung. Learned to schedule my time better from then on. No drier sheet can replace that fresh scent.

Junebug said...

First let me say I love your Mom's attitude. I can only hope at 92 I have the same!! I KNOW you will!

Wringer washer, I have wanted one for years. I can remember that every Monday was wash day. I truely believe that they wash better and use less water then all our new washers.

Hugs to both you and your Mom!!

Anne said...

I do remember how wringer washer and put rubber diapers through that wringer diapers and explodes and I ruined a couple of shirts
Did you jams and untangling clothes or ruined a couple of shirts?

Karen said...

Dear Sue, isn't it something the way things used to be done? Not all progress is bad, mind you, but for some reason we cling to our antiquities. Your memory of laundry sounds much more difficult, you should write a blog post about it!

Carol, my sympathies on losing your mother at such a young age. I'm trying to cherish each day I have with Mom.

Pamela, yes, mom is quite the spunky gal. She's very independent yet and really dislikes the new machines. Neither of us would know how to do laundry; we're both odd!

Karen said...

Chad, thank you. She's always been strong.

Missy, I'd like to think I have Mom's strength, but I do cry very easily. She doesn't. But we both do love our washing machines, lol.

El Gaucho, will do....she can be a sassy one!

Shirley, OH getting stuff stuck in the wringer is the PITS! I had to cut a sweater out of mine ones with a scissors, it was devastating, lol.

Sandy, you poor girl! Everyone should have a wringer washer at sometime in their lives. (I do like the idea of your truly automatic washing/folding/putting away machine, though!) I'm glad you have sweet memories of your mom, too.

Dandelion and Daisy, you remember the 'good ol' days'......I'm happy for you that you have advanced to the modern era. Still, that line-dried freshness can't be bottled, can it?

TufaGirl, the wringer is not very forgiving, that's a fact. And I've sun-burned many clothes too. But we don't have the hot sun of Texas like you do. I imagine it would fade colors rapidly!

June, aw....thank you! I hope I do as well as Mom has, but time will tell. Can I tell you a little secret? I have six washers just like the one I pictured. That's right. Six. In case one breaks down or something. Ok, I'll admit it, I could be on the Hoarders show. But I see them for sale and panic, because they don't make them anymore. I guess we could set up a Maytag Museum??

Anne, yes, I washed diapers in mine too, and rubber pants can be a very explosive thing to deal with, ha. Along with pockets in jeans squirting water clear across the basement. And wringers are bad at chewing off buttons and wrecking zippers once in awhile, too. I have to be careful how I put things through the wringer, but sometimes stuff does go around and get stuck. Keeps me on my toes!

Lona said...

Clothes dries outdoor always smell so good, Especially the sheets. I always loved that fresh smell when going to bed on dried sheets from outdoors.
You are really blessed that your Momma is still so strong in body and mind at that age. My Mom has gotten so senile at 80 years of age and it is sad to see a once strong woman become the child. Enjoy every day with her Karen.
Loved the Halloween pictures. LOL!

Randy Hyden said...

That is a beautiful story !