Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Day We Bought the Separator

The Day We Bought the Separator
Who ever heard of a separator? It was an apparatus that was invented in the early days to separate the cream from the milk. I heard my parents discussing the plans to buy a separator. "What’s a separator", I asked. Mom said, "It’s a machine that lets the milk come out one spigot and the cream come out another one". I asked, "How does the cream know which spigot to get in?" My smart brother, who knew everything, said, "Its because it keeps to the right, and the milk keeps to the left, anybody should know that, Dummy". This was a big event, it would compare to buying a big flat screen TV today. The store that we bought it from delivered it to our house. It was an exciting day. We had to decide where to set it up. We decided on the screened-in back porch. I say "we", but I don’t recall that my opinion counted for much.
Most farmhouses in that era had a screened-in back porch. The back porch is where we kept the wood and kindling box, the wash tubs, scrub board, ironing board, and an extra table, a shoe rack for muddy shoes and a couple chairs plus a lot of things I have no doubt forgotten about.
It finally came and was set up on the porch. Now we need to figure out how it works. It has the big bowl that sets on top and the brains of the operation was several pieces that had to be cleaned after each use and than reassembled. We called this action, putting the separator together. Ray and I wanted the honor of having the job. I finally won out because, as I pointed out, I was the girl. Mom’s job was cleaning the whole operation each day and I soon heard a few grumbles about how much she disliked the job. Daddy had the job of pouring the milk into the bowl and cranking the handle until all the milk was separated. The honor of, putting the separator together, soon grew extremely boring so I decided I would allow my brother, Ray, to have the honor of the job. When I approached him that I had a change of heart, and I would let him have the pleasure of putting the separator together, you would have thought I suggested he should get a sex change operation. He let me know in, no uncertain terms that, putting the separator together, was a girl job. I asked Bennie, my next brother in the lineage, if he would like the job of putting the separator together. He asked, "Do I look like a girl to you?"
Guess who put the separator together until we moved to the city. The only girl in the family at that time.


Jan said...

Remembrance of things past - lovely and poignant. My father had perfect recall too, but when my mother died he seemed to have lost interest in staying longer. He died 14 days later. I'm bringing this up because I miss him and his stories of their early years before and during the second world war. If the internet had only come a little earlier to our sleepy town and he discovered blogging - who knows he might have reconsidered staying a big longer. Anyhow, great recreation of things past. I love it.

Raggedy Girl said...

Maybe life was better back then. Less hurry and way less worry. Everyone just worked hard.
Roberta Anne

Stephanie Frieze said...

My father wrote about the day my grandmother got an electric washing machine. I am sure that the event was much as your family's getting the seperator.

I agree that there's something to be said for a life less hurried. It seems that the more conveniences we get the more harried our lives. I am forever looking for ways to slow down.

I miss my dad, too.

Cora said...

I am hoping the big event in my house this year is a new washer and Dryer (ok really it is a baby but I can't say that outloud it might jinx it). Woo Hoo you know you are a grown up when you get excited about kitchen sinks and washing machines.

Here I Dwell said...

Mom (Kay Anthony) just sent us the article about you. We are enjoying reading and learning about the Washington family!
Rick Anthony

Grandma Blog said...

Rick, Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for responding. I never know if anybody I know ever stumbles across my blog. I really appreciate this. I remember you. You were a very young boy the last time I saw you.

Here I Dwell said...

You were the topic of conversation at Sunday lunch today. Mom shared stories of how much she had always enjoyed you.