April 21st, 2012
One of the greatest luxuries in our new home is the washing machine. After years of trekking to the laundromat, it’s still hard to believe we can now do the washing in our very own laundry room.
There’s nothing old fashioned about our new front-loading washing machine and gas dryer — I snagged them last fall during a Black-Friday appliance sale in anticipation of our new home. The control panels are computerized and sensors inside the machines figure out how much washing or spinning or drying to do. They even play a little song to let you know they’re through. But I must admit I love the old ways too.
I’m not quite ready to break out the washboard (actually, I haven’t come across it in the course of unpacking yet), but I did have a sudden craving for sun-dried clothes this morning.
I haven’t figured out exactly where to hang the clothesline yet, so I hauled out my (paternal) great-grandmother’s wooden drying rack. Based on the construction (it snaps open with metal springs) and family history, I’m guessing it’s about 100 years old. Which means I shouldn’t have it sitting out in the sun covered in wet clothes. Yeah, I know. But there are plenty of drying racks preserved in museums, and this one means more through continuing to use it the way generations before me did.
They that wash on Monday have all the week to dry.
They that wash on Tuesday are not so much awry.
They that wash on Wednesday are not so much to blame.
They that wash on Thursday, wash for very shame.
They that wash on Friday, wash in dire need.
They that wash on Saturday are lazy sluts indeed!
English Nursery Rhyme
Hoping no one notices that I’m posting this on a Saturday…
September 2nd, 2011
After three hot summer days of modeling in 19th century clothes, sweating profusely and getting drenched in a sudden thunderstorm, it was high time to wash my chemise and drawers.
If I was washing these in the 1850s, they’d be soaked in harsh soap, boiled, scrubbed and wrung out. Even so, I couldn’t bear to subject my embroidery to more than a gentle swish in a lukewarm bathtub. Then I wrung them out carefully — just squeezing the lace — and hung them to drip dry.
I was also reminded of this old English nursery rhyme, with its startlingly blunt conclusion:
They that wash on Monday
Have all the week to dry.
They that wash on Tuesday
Are not so much awry.
They that wash on Wednesday
Are not so much to blame.
They that wash on Thursday
Wash for very shame.
They that wash on Friday
Wash in dire need.
They that wash on Saturday
Are lazy sluts indeed!