Aunt Norie’s Sewing Room
They were gathered around that big kitchen table. The kids and mom each had a pile of dried navy beans in front of them, along with a cup of hot chocolate. It was like party time. They were having fun, telling stories. Who could tell the funniest or spookiest along with sorting those beans?
You see, the next day was wash day. Those beans would soak in water overnight , then cook all day tomorrow on the back of the big old cook stove as mom did the family laundry, or “the washing.’”
There was a closed-in back porch that doubled as a laundry room. It held a two-burner kerosene stove and a large cooper boiler for heating the wash water. It also contained the washing machine with its gasoline-powered motor and the rinse tubs of water on a long bench.
The machine had a wringer for lifting the wet clothes. You poked them through the wringer, which squeezed the rinse water out, then into the basket and out to the clothes line to dry in the sun and wind.
They had to be hung on the clothes lines to dry. Oh, what beautiful, fresh, clean smell. They froze to the line the winter, but soon whipped dry.
That’s how I grew up as a kid. We were so far out — just barely over the hill, so to speak — that electricity had not gotten to us. Our city cousins had fun at our house and we had fun going to their house with the flushing toilets.
My mother grew up with no washing machine she and her mom scrubbed their laundry on a washboard. What I’ll never understand is our forefathers, in covered wagons and women in all those dress-tails. Why not wear overalls on the trail at least?
As children, we girls had to wear dresses. There were no jeans or overalls, even though we rode ponies to school.
I still have to frequently cook a big pot of ham and beans, then freeze some and enjoy them longer. In doing so, I often recall those really fun times. That was really livin’. Kind of seems to me our kids today get the short end of the stick, so to speak. They miss so much of real life. If you agree, let me know, please.
Keep those kids tuned in, now.
— Aunt Norie, PO Box 265, Tonganoxie, KS 66086; firstname.lastname@example.org