Laundry Day

| 5/19/2017 4:22:00 PM

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I love doing laundry. There is nothing so satisfying as clean laundry neatly folded and waiting to be put away. Unless it is the sight of laundry hanging on the clothesline in the bright sunshine. And the smell of line-dried laundry! That is something to cherish.

Of course, I have the luxury to enjoy this chore. Things were very different when I was a child. When I grew up in the 1960s, here in northwest Arkansas, we were still a very rural community, complete with dirt roads. We lived approximately 27 miles from the nearest town and were almost completely self sufficient. What we couldn't make or grow for ourselves, we traveled the 27 miles of dirt road once a month to buy. There was no going to the local laundromat for us. We did all of our laundry at home.

My laundry on the line

My granny had always done laundry on a rub board in the big cast-iron kettle, but Daddy traded something or other for an electric ringer washer for Mother that we kept on the front porch. This was Mother's treasure. She did laundry nearly every day, because it had to be hung on the line to dry and we only had so much line. Monday was blue jeans, so Daddy would have work clothes for the rest of the week (he was a mechanic at the local school). Tuesday was white clothes that soaked in a bleach solution before being washed. Wednesday was colored clothes; Thursday was reds (we had a lot of red things, as that was Mother's favorite color); Friday was towels, aprons, washcloths, dish cloths, pot holders, etc. And one Saturday a month was the day Mother washed all of the bedding.

Mother washed in all kinds of weather. Sometimes, the days were switched around because of rain. Some clothes could be dried indoors on hangers, or hung on the porch out of the rain, whereas denim really needed to be hung on the line. But no matter what the temperature, Mother did her laundry. I can remember the blue jeans being frozen stiff as boards and Mother using a broom to beat them so the ice would break and fall off. Then she would bring them in, hang them over chairs before the wood stove, and let them finish drying.

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