Monday, January 28, 2013

The Way it Was

We had a well with a pump just outside the back door. We had a bucket that sat on a separate small table. A wash basin sat on the table also. Our drinking water was in the bucket and a dipper which everybody used. Nobody was afraid of a little germ. We had a cupboard that was not built in. It was a piece of furniture. We had two of those in our kitchen. I have no idea how we were able to keep all our dishes in those two cupboards. A large family meant a lot of dishes and they were all dirty after each meal. To do the dishes, you had to heat the water on a stove that had to be fed wood constantly. The water was heated in a large tea kettle. The dish pan and another one for rinsing was set on the other cupboard. There was no place to set a draining rack. I don’t think anyone had ever heard of a draining rack in the 1930’s. Well, nobody in my house anyway. Female’s washed dishes, men only did outside jobs. Women also did outside jobs, such as washing clothes and hanging them up on a clothes line to dry. Tending to a garden in the summer months. Gathering eggs and bringing in kindling and wood for the stoves was done by both female and male. That is just the way it was. I don’t believe anyone thought they were being treated unfairly. On a farm there was plenty of work for everybody. Men usually milked the cows, but many women also helped with the milking.  I often heard my mother say, “I never milked a cow in my life, and I ain’t going to either‘.  I thought that was a good rule so I never milked a cow in my life either and I ain’t going to.
In the winter months, the clothes washing procedure was moved to the back porch, which was screened in. It was just about as cold there as it was under the tree. It didn’t take nearly as long to do the laundry in the winter months as in the summer. At least you didn’t have to stand in the snow to wash the clothes. Everything was hung on the line to dry, freezing or not. They were frozen dry, and when you brought them in from the line it would be like bringing in the wood. Everything was frozen stiff. When they thawed out, they would dry rather quickly. Stuff was draped over everything in the house. It’s no wonder everybody was sick most of the time. Colds, and stomach ailments is what I remember the most. Of course if one person caught something, everybody would end up with it as well.
That is just some of the way it was.  Remember this, the next time the Pizza delivery man is running a little slow.