Laundry in 1950s Part 3

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/laundry-in-the-1950s-part-1/

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/laundry-in-the-1950s-part-2/

Ironing in the 1950s was a huge chore.  As soon as breakfast was over, and the kitchen tidied, out came the ironing board.  A stack of wire hangers hung on the doorframe, waiting to be pressed into service.  Mother pulled a few pieces of balled up clothing from the pillowcase in the freezer.  Her coke bottle sprinkler was at hand just in case a piece had dried out too much.  It could be re sprinkled and balled up to go back in the freezer till it was just right.

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Mother always attacked Daddy’s clothes first since that was the biggest and most demanding job.  With a freshly cleaned iron, she went for the white shirts Daddy wore for casual and dress.  They had to be spotless, crisp, and perfect.  The iron temperature had to be high to do the job, but a bit of hesitation left a dreaded scorch mark.  A time or two, Mother hung a shirt in his closet with a little scorch she hoped he wouldn’t notice, and he’d throw a fit, wad it up, and throw it down.  “I can’t wear a mess like this!”  I don’t know why she never killed him.  His khaki pants had to have perfect creases.  She starched them and put them on pants stretchers to ensure proper creases  They dried hard and could stand alone when she took them off the line.  His blue work shirts were hard work, but not so challenging as the pants and white shirts.  His five pair of pants and five to seven shirts must be been an exhausting challenge.  He would sometimes wear his pants twice without laundering, so he did help a little with the laundry. His handkerchiefs made quick work.

The dresses and school clothes came next.  I can assure you, after Mother took the time to iron all those frilly little home-made dresses, we changed as soon as we came in from school, so we could wear them at least twice.  She had to rub the underarm seams to soften them up.  Otherwise, they’d scratch at our tender flesh.    The skirts were so stiff, they belled out even without a petticoat.  My brother’s pants and shirts were less challenging, which was fortunate, since he normally got the knees of his pants so dirty, he could only wear them one day.  Naturally, last of all, she ironed her cotton housedresses, since she was a lady of leisure and didn’t have to “work.”

Before she had five children, I remember sheets and pillow cases coming at the end of the list.  Over the years, she got lazy and those fell by the wayside.  Little girls were taught to iron hankies and pillowcases first.  Ironing was “women’s work” not just something a boy needed to know.  How fortunate for them!

Usually by the end of ironing day.  Mother had thirty-five to forty crisp pieces hanging on the threshold of the doorway, seasoning and waiting for the closet.  Every week, she counted those pieces without fail, proudly cataloging her work.  I thank God, we don’t have to do that now!

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That was Good

 

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In 1950, the US population was less than 150 million, yet you knew more people
then, and knew them better…
And that was good.

The average annual salary was under $3,000, yet our parents could put some
of it away for a rainy day and still live a decent life…
And that was good.

A loaf of bread cost about 15 cents and it was safe for a five year old to
skate to the store and buy one…And that was good.
1950s 1

Prime-Time meant I Love Lucy, Ozzie and Harriett, and Lassie. So nobody’d
ever heard of ratings or filters…And that was good.
We didn’t have air-conditioning, so the windows stayed up and half a dozen
mothers ran outside when you fell off your bike…
And that was good.

1950s 4

Your teacher was either Miss Matthews or Mr. Adkins, not  Ms. Becky or Mr. Dan.

The only hazardous material you knew about was a patch of grassburrs
around the light pole at the corner…
And that was good.

Most families needed only one job, meaning Mom was home when school
let out…
And that was good.

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You loved to climb into a fresh bed because sheets were dried on the
clothesline…
And that was good.

People generally lived in the same hometown with their relatives, so “child
care” meant grandparents or aunts and uncles…
And that was good.

Maw Maw by Car

TV was in black-and-white, but all outdoors was in glorious color…
And that was certainly good.

Your Dad knew how to adjust everybody’s carburetor, and the Dad next door
knew how to adjust all the TV knobs…
And that was very good.

Your grandma grew snap beans in the back yard and chickens behind the
garage…
And that was definitely good.

First Grade School Picture

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And just when you were about to do something really bad, chances were
you’d run into your Dad’s high school coach, or the nosy old lady from up
the street, or your little sister’s piano teacher, or somebody from church.
ALL of whom knew your parents’ phone number and YOUR first name…And that was good.
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Lovely Old Barn

Old barn

Though my father saw a barn a’building, I saw a cathedral of rough-hewn lumber rising in the lot behind our house. Mr. Bradley, a crotchedy old grandpa in khakis, showed up about daybreak every morning for coffee, then shuffled on to his barn building. He and a helper worked all day till Daddy and a couple of his buddies took over and worked on as Continue reading

I Am So Sorry, Rosie. (

Please excuse the offensive word used in context in this story.

Rosie was beautiful, the first black woman I ever knew.  She tolerated my stroking her creamy, caramel-colored legs as she washed dishes or ironed. Her crisply starched cotton housedresses smelled just like sunshine.  Normally, I trailed my mother, but on the days Rosie was there, she couldn’t stop suddenly without my bumping her.  Rosie ate standing Continue reading