But first a spot of housekeeping. (I have always giggled when I am at conferences and an elderly gentleman comes to the microphone and makes that announcement. I know he has never worn an apron in his life. Actually, he usually tells us where the bathrooms are and the time for lunch.) I want to announce that my ankle is not broken. Indeed, it feels quite a bit better as I walk in a forwardly direction. As I try to turn it, however, it is incredibly painful and turning over in bed is still excruciatingly painful. In the pro column, however, my dryer is now humming like a top, and the repair man who turned up ten minutes early on Monday announced that in spite of its age, it was worth keeping for as long as I could—which is considerably longer than any appliance bought today.
I started thinking of what laundry meant in my youth.One day was always set aside for laundry—and that day was Monday. That way we could, in theory, eat the the leftover meat from Sunday's roast, though I am not sure there was a lot of meat, but some gravy and boiled potatoes filled us up. In truth, I don't remember much about the "washing" part of the day. When I was at school I missed it all and when I was on holiday there was not a lot of room in our small kitchen for me to observe the goings on. Because that is where the washing part was done. No laundry room for us. What I still refer to as "the whites" were boiled in a big pot on the stove top and other items were washed in the sink. I am pretty sure that at some point a portable machine that spun the washing around was placed on the draining board by the sink. Or maybe it was a dryer. One thing I do know: this function was performed early in the morning because it was important to get the clothes out to dry on the line before any other housewife in the street. That's how a woman's housewifery was measured.
I had left home before some of the labor saving devices of the 50's made their way into the house and I regret to say that because I didn't know better I was not as glad as I should have that my mother was freed from some of the plain drudgery. I am delighted with the invention of "no-iron" fabrics, though I regret that some of my children do no know one end of an iron from the other.
Now I wonder what else would make my life easier. I do still have a sore ankle!