Thursday, August 13, 2009

In The Olden Days

Well, not olden days to me, but olden days to a bunch of you.

Laundry day was Monday. All the laundry was washed on Monday and hung on the line in the back yard to dry. The line always sagged, so you propped it up in the middle with a wooden 1 x 2. Usually you had 2 or 3 lines, that way you could hang the underwear in the middle or in the back where the neighbors couldn't see it.

When the clothes were dry, you brought them in the house, laid them out on the kitchen table and sprinkled them with water from a little doohickey stuck in an old soda pop bottle. Then, you folded them up, stuffed them in a zippered plastic bag and stuffed them into the refrigerator. Overnight. Really.
That was because Tuesday was ironing day. That's all you did, all day long, was iron clothes. That included the handkerchiefs, the sheets, the dresses, the skirts and blouses and Sunday go to meeting clothes. Not the underwear, we got a break on that. When I was a kid, my mama taught me how to iron, starting with the handkerchiefs. She put one of the kitchen chairs up to the ironing board with the back against the board. I stood on that and ironed. The reason we sprinkled the clothes and put them in the refrigerator overnight was so they would be universally damp in the morning. That's because there was no steam in the iron, it was just HOT. Lick your finger and tap the bottom of the iron. If the spit sizzles, it's hot enough. Really. But of course, you didn't teach a kid to iron too young. I was 6 or 7 when I started that. And I was really proud of myself. I ironed the folds into daddy's hankies and I was a big girl!

By the time I was married with a home of my own things had changed some. We didn't hang or sprinkle the clothes, because we had steam irons and dryers. But when you're ironing and you realize that it's work and not a privilege, you need SOMETHING to do while you iron. That's when I started watching soap operas on a regular basis. I watched for two hours every day. Four soaps, two hours because they were only half an hour long.

I watched CBS' entire lineup. Love of Life, As the World Turns, The Guiding Light and The Edge of Night. It took up a portion of the day, but wasn't too bad. But in 1977, they expanded all the soaps to a full hour. That took up half the ding dong day! Unbelievable! So I quit cold turkey. Mom tried to keep me watching one, so we'd have something to talk about, but I sucked it up and just said No!

The Guiding Light has filmed the last episodes this week. They are going off the air. That show has been broadcast for 72 years. I know, I know. They started on the radio, then went to telelvision with 15 minute episodes. Amazing.

But I haven't watched soaps in years. Now I just watch endless reruns of Andy Griffith and NCIS, not in that order. ;)

1 comment:

Jill said...

I remember hanging wet clothes up to dry when I was young. Then when we went to Ukraine we were reduced to washing out clothes by hand AND hanging them to dry on radiators and drying racks. Some things in this world have not changed for some people.

By the way, if you get an itching for doing 4 hours of laundry, you're welcome here anytime.