The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Sandy Laumeyer
Just A Thought 

Appreciating Ancestors

 


While watching my granddaughter vacuum the carpeting in my house not long ago, the thought struck me that she has never known any other way to clean carpets. As child of 11 years of age, I remember the carpet in my folks’ living room. It wasn’t a wall-to-wall one because it would have been too big to handle. Every spring, Dad would take the carpet outside, drape it a across the three clotheslines then turn it over to me and my brother. We would then wield our carpet beaters, which were built something on the order of a tennis racket. The difference was instead of netting, the frame was filled with heavy wire twisted into various designs. It took us most all of the day to beat the dust and dirt out of that carpet.

There is now flooring that does not need to be waxed. Every Monday, when Mom was done washing the clothes, she’d use the rinse water to scrub the linoleum floors, then when they were dry she’d get down on her hands and knees and wax them.

Washing clothes was a whole different ballgame than now. We didn’t have an automatic washer and dryer. Instead Mom washed the clothes in an old wringer washer. My brother and I would have to pump water to fill the copper boiler before we went to school. And she didn’t have a dryer either. Her dryer was three clotheslines where she would hang the clothes, taking them down when they were dry and pinning another batch to the lines.

For a long while, she didn’t have an electric iron. She had three flat irons she would heat on the wood stove replacing a hot iron with the cold one.

Our refrigerator was not electric, either. We had a wooden one that had two large compartments. The bottom one held a big block of solid ice. The top one was for our food. A dishpan sat underneath the ice box to catch the water from the melting ice. We didn’t throw out that water. Mom would boil it to use for washing dishes.

Our kitchen range was fueled by large metal bottles filled with propane. Mom always called it bottled gas. In the winter she cooked on top of the coal heating stove in order to conserve on the gas, thus reducing the amount of money paid out for the propane.

I can remember many pots of soup and ham bone and beans simmering away all day long on top of that pot-bellied stove. Mom always heated the water for our baths on that stove in the winter. Then the hot water would be poured into a big galvanized tub so we could have our weekly bath.

So many of the conveniences we now take for granted were either nonexistent when I was growing up or too costly to purchase. Things like electric mixers, blenders, waffle irons, pancake griddles, sandwich makers, hand-held hair dryers, and so much more.

Although it took longer to clean the house, cook the meals, or do the laundry, we gained so much that would help us later in life. Children and parents spent a lot of time together, talking and laughing as they worked their way through daily and weekly chores. Children learned valuable life skills from their parents.

Sometimes, doing things together as a family instead of using all of our work-saving devices might just be what is needed to bring families closer together and giving children a greater appreciation of their ancestors.

 

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