MLT: Introduction

When I was in college and had to do a paper, we didn’t have computers.  I used to research and write down ideas I thought I might want to use.  Then I would cut them out and organize what I had collected until everything was in the order I wanted them to be.  Then I began writing the paper.  There are so many things I would like to tell my family and I don’t always think of them at once.  Therefore I will start by writing ideas as they come to me.  If I am lucky enough to complete this, I will organize them in a timely or subject related book.  Otherwise this may seem disorganized but that seems to be the best way to put things on paper.  As I begin this, I am 72 years of age and have been married to Jim for over 50 years.


            Our son, Jim asked me once about chores I did when I was growing up.  My brother and I together had to wash and dry the dishes every night after dinner.  It was boring so we used to play games.  One was 20 questions in which the person who was “it”, would say, “I’m thinking of something —-“The other would start firing questions like is it in this room?  Is it animal, vegetable or mineral?  Is it living or dead? Is it blue or red?  The game made the time go better.

            One of my chores was hanging our freshly washed clothes on the clothes line.  Our washing machine was a wringer style and we had to have tubs of rinse water.  We would stir the clothes with big wooden spoons, and put them through the wringer again and drop them into a large clothes basket.  Then we hung them outdoors on the line.  This usually happened early in the day so there would be plenty of time to dry.  In Pacific Beach and San Diego, fog usually came in at night.  By around ten in the morning the sun would break through. If there was a breeze the clothes would be soft when dry.

            One of the problems of this system was that the sun often faded colored clothes as dyes weren’t that great either.  But the nice thing was that wonderful smell of clean, fresh sheets and bedding.  I do miss that today.

            Next we had to fold the foldable clothes, and sprinkle the ones to be ironed,.  The sprinkler was a jar with a narrow neck and a cork with a hole through which the water passed and came out of small holes when shaken.  Then the item would be folded up and placed in a clothes basket with a sheet type of liner.  When everything was folded in, the sheet would be closed over to keep everything damp for ironing.  We had to iron almost everything.  There were no tissues in those days so there were lots of handkerchiefs.  Also Men’s boxer shorts and sheets and pillow cases had to be ironed as did shirts, dresses, skirts, and blouses.  All I can think of that didn’t get ironed were towels, dish towels, and socks.

            Sometimes I had to vacuum and dust the house.  We had to keep our own rooms cleaned and beds made.  We had to take turns watering the yard.  Rain was rare so grass, plants, and trees had to be hand watered.

            I used to love to cook and bake and often made sumptuous cakes, popovers, pies, and sometimes dinner.  But mom cooked most of the main meals and she was one of the best cooks I ever knew of.  Aunt Alma, and Aunt Beulah were the other two best cooks I knew.

            We didn’t have frozen vegetables so another chore was stringing and breaking string beans, or taking peas out of pods.  There were potatoes and carrots to scrub, peel, and cut up for cooking.  We didn’t know that potato skins were good for you.   Once when I was taking seeds out of dates for mom when I was under ten years of age, I ate too many and got sick so have never cared for dates since then.  Turnips and beets had to be cleaned and peeled.  You get the idea.  Everything was from scratch.

            We didn’t have trash pick up.  Everyone had a spot or a metal barrel that they burned trash in.  As soon as the family thought we were old enough, burning trash was a kid chore.  At our Chalcedony Street house it was a spot near the driveway.  We had the hose hooked up and ready to use if a spark went too far.  On Oliver Street we had a barrel and that made it harder for the flame to get out but we still kept a garden hose nearby.

            We didn’t have shower baths so the tub had to be scrubbed often.  People didn’t bathe as often as they do now and most of us were trained to rinse out our tub after draining it.  Hair was washed once a week.


About Bertie

Retired and luvin' it.
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