Times Past: Prompt 2 Women’s Work?

Times Past 2

© irene waters 2016

 

Times Past is a monthly prompt challenge that I hope will give us social insights into the way the world has changed between not only generations but also between geographical location. The prompt can be responded to in any form you enjoy – prose, poetry, flash, photographs, sketches or any other form you choose. You may like to use a combination of the two. I will also add a series of questions for those that would like to join in but don’t know where to start.

Heading your response please put what generation you belong to, your country and whether you lived in a rural or city environment at the time of your story.

The first prompt in the series proved my pre conceived ideas to be incorrect. The prompt The first time I remember eating in a restaurant in the evening had 11 responses and all found it was rare in their childhood to eat out. Some wonderful stories were told that gave an insight back into the lives of the one Silent Generation, 9 Baby Boomers and 2 Gen X. Surprisingly it was the Baby Boomers who were later eating out than the other generations with the average age 10.5. The numbers though are certainly not statistically significant. Many of the baby boomers mentioned that they had to be on their very best behaviour as did the one silent generation. Perhaps Gen X had a little more freedom to be themselves. The numbers were for the baby Boomers equally spread between UK and USA with 1 Australian and also equally spread as far as country and city. Gen X were both rural – one in the UK and the other USA. Perhaps if some Gen X city children had participated we may have found that they were more inclined to eat out. Thanks to Grandmama. Sherri, Judy, Deborah, Geoff, Anne, Jules, Jeanne, ChristineCharli, and Lisa.

The Generations that I think may possibly be blogging:

Greatest Generation

G I Generation: 1901 – 1924 Experienced WWII in adulthood.

Silent Generation 1925 – 1945 Experience WWII in childhood

Baby Boomers

Boom Generation/Hippie 1946 -1964 Space Exploration/ first counter culture

Generation X 

Baby Busters 1965 -1980 Experienced Vietnam War/Cold War

MTV or Boomerang Generation 1975 – 1985 Rise of Mass Media/end cold war

Generation Y

Echo Boom/Generation McGuire 1978-1990 Rise of the Information Age/ Internet/War on Terror/Rising Gas and Food Prices

Generation Z

New Silent Generation 1995- 2009 Never experience pre Internet/dot com bubble/ Digital globalisation

Generation Alpha

No sub name as yet but possibly the school or materialistic generation 2010 – These are predicted to study longer and be more concerned with material possessions.

My belief is that our location and the generation into which we were born see very different experiences of growing up as we relook at Times Past. I hope you’ll join in. Put a link to your post and I will add it in my post so that it is easy to read others experiences. Lets get started.

Prompt No 2. First memories of wash day. Was it a ritual in your house. Did you have to play a part. What kind of washing machine did you have? Was it the sole province of the women of the household? What was the style of your clothes line? Any memories of doing the laundry you care to share. I am sure that we are going to find some differences both geographically and generational with this one. Help me prove myself right or show that I am wrong by joining in.

IMG_0002

© irene waters 2016 A Hills Hoist Clothesline

Generation Baby Boomer Country Australia: Rural Age 6 -11

I have to admit I remember little about washing. I don’t know whether Mum had a regular day for doing it or not. I wouldn’t be surprised if she did as most things were set to a routine when I was growing up. I do however remember three things about laundry very clearly.

The first was my Grandmother’s mode of washing, which was different to ours as my Mum always had an automatic machine (in my memory). When we visited Grandma in Sydney I used to love her washing day which definitely was on a routine day every week. She had a copper in which water was boiled and she dropped all the items into this very hot water. She let them soak for a bit then with a well worn pole which had the pattina of a well-used wooden spoon, she rotated the clothes. Items that were stained such as shirt collars she would soap up and rub up and down a board which was the same type of wood as the pole. After emptying the water she would put the clothes in the laundry tub in cold water, agitate them around to get the suds off and then, if I had been good, she would allow me to feed them through the two rollers to squeeze every last drop of water out.

The second laundry memory was at my other Grandma’s house also in Sydney. All the cousins were staying including a baby. Sneaking into the laundry in a game of hide and seek we discovered a row of buckets filled with nappies and the most incredibly slimy water I have ever felt in my life.

The only task I had to do with regard to the laundry was ironing the hankies and the pillowslips. This was normally done on a weekend night. My mother would sprinkle water over all the clean clothes and roll them up damp in readiness for ironing. There were no steam irons then and the water was designed to take the creases out of the clothes. I hated having to do the ironing. It was a boring thankless task that seemed to never end. Now I do as little ironing as possible.

The clothes line I do remember. Not for hanging the wet clothes on but because of it acting as a merry-go-round. We used to stand on our tip-toes in order to reach the ban and then we would run until eventually our speed was such that we could bend our knees, taking our feet off the ground and fly around using the momentum we had generated. Nearly everyone had a Hills Hoist clothesline when we were growing up.  I can remember being jealous of the odd farmer that still had two strands of wire strung between two posts  and I was definitely jealous of the odd person who covered their Hills Hoist to give them a huge umbrella. Huge umbrellas had not yet been invented.

I’m looking forward to your memories of the laundry.

The Silent Generation

rural

in comments  http://www.stilltheluckyfew.com/

 

Baby Boomers

rural USA

in comments  Sharon Bonin-Pratt

rural England

Washed Up

rural England

https://ellenbest24.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/the-torture-of-wash-days-past/

rural USA

A Pouch Full of Clothespins

city NY USA

https://julesinflashyfiction.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/past-times-2-womens-work-easy-breezy-2-5-f/

city Australia

https://christinejrandall.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/times-past-laundry/

city Northern England

http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/1/post/2016/02/memory-memoir-and-fiction-again-a-daughter-your-age-washday-blues.html

rural England

Laundry: Women’s Work?

Gen X

rural USA

Times Past: Mystery of Laundry

rural England

https://sharingthestoryblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/times-past-wash-day-dander/

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
This entry was posted in Memoir, Past Challenge and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Times Past: Prompt 2 Women’s Work?

  1. julespaige says:

    Odd how the first thing I thought of when reading woman’s work was my grandmother and her doing the washing… But I’ll tell you about that in my ‘story’. A little past with some present salted it too 🙂

    I actually have a clothes line like the one in the photo… is that the Hoist? I didn’t know it had a name. I thought that was an umbrella line because it was on one pole and operated like an umbrella. Ah…this is what came up when I looked up Hoist clothesline:
    aundrylist.org/product/rotary-6/?gclid=CNu86KGF2coCFc4XHwodTdMMhw
    Mine doesn’t have a color…it is just steel grey. I use it in good weather, but not for permanent press. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m looking forward to your story Jules. Lovely to have the two perspectives with past and present. It was an Australian invention made initially for Mrs Hill and then for their friends. He made them in the home’s garage initially but the idea was so good he soon took it to a factory and then world wide it would seem. They have always been known as Hills Hoists for that reason.The original ones didn’t collapse like an umbrella but they were great to swing around on. Puppies were always a problem with them too as they enjoyed latching onto the clothes and flying around. Where I live there aren’t too many of them as most people seem to have a type that attaches to a fence and can be folded down out of the way. Space is at a premium here and no-one wants to look at a clothesline.

      Liked by 1 person

      • julespaige says:

        I actually have it ready… not as exciting as the last. But hopefully I’ll get to post it this week or weekend.

        When I was in Italy one summer (while my hubby worked) everything was hung on lines. The little hotel we stayed at used most of its’ little yard space for lines to hand the bedding and towels. I would think they might have one of those larger pressing machines if they have to iron large sheets and large quantities
        of stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Laundry can never be that exciting but something that we don’t too often think of. I have already learnt of gas washing machines. Lots of life in these little details. And I can see that little courtyard in Italy with the sheets and towels flapping.

        Like

  2. Charli Mills says:

    This is proving fun and insightful. Already I can tell you what a huge generational difference this is, yet laundry was still my mother’s job. It’s one of my least favorite chores and I loathed the laundry monsters we used to create when the kids were little. I’ll have to think about how to tell this one. Like Jules, I didn’t know the circular clotheslines had a name. I love sun dried sheets!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sherri says:

    Like both Jules and Charli, I also didn’t know this name for a circular clothesline! But same as you Irene, I grew up with just about everyone having one, although ours go the other way, an upside down umbrella. Love the idea of you swinging on it, not at all surprised by that 🙂 I was amazed when I first moved to the States to see that nobody had washing lines, other than the odd long line strung up like your farmers. Everyone it seemed had dryers, unheard for me as they were so expensive to run and nobody I knew in England had one. How things have changed. Very interesting to read your summary of the ‘eating out’ prompt and discover that we baby boomers did it later. And yes, I agree, having good manners was very important, my mother would have killed us if we misbehaved when eating out. Another great prompt Irene, I’m looking forward to joining in, earlier in the month this time 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just when you have time Sherri we’ll look forward to what light you throw on the subject. An upside down umbrella sounds weird. I think I have seen inside clothes airers of that design but one for outside never. I have a drier but I never use it. My Mum got one when we left the country for the city. We did in those days have days on end of wet weather and I guess we didn’t have as many towels and clothes so had to wash more frequently. I have lots of stuff so I can survive days without washing and ironing. Not my favourite job either but I still prefer to do it than hand it over to Roger. He puts everything in together and doesn’t hang it so that it needs little ironing afterwards. That to me is very important.
      Glad you enjoyed the summary. Probably not enough of a sample number to draw definite conclusions but looking at the comments on your site certainly it was a rarity for most of your readers to eat out. I don’t think there were any under 12.
      See you soon Sherri.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        Yes, I noticed that too Irene from the comments. So very different for the younger generation, my own children eating out from a young age. It’s still a treat though to go out to a really nice place and make it a special occasion 🙂 Your laundry prompt makes me think of my grandmother, whom I nicknamed Mrs Tiggywinkle because of all the ironing and starching she loved to do, and I’ll be sharing all about that in my post! Have a wonderful weekend my wonderful friend, and I hope the writing continues to go well. I’ve had a good writing week behind blog you’ll be pleased to know, grappling with an early chapter that has been a real challenge. See you soon and lots of love ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m jumping up and down with joy that you not only got some blogging done (as you know I love to see you) but that you worked on your book as well. Just wonderful. I’m looking forward to Mrs Tiggywinkle and your tale. Have a great weekend. I will drop by for a walk. Lots of love

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        Ahh…thank you so much Irene! It’s a record isn’t it, lol!!! Let’s hope I can keep it up…! And I love to see you too, I love dropping in to say hi. We’re having Chinese tonight with some friends…soup spoons et al 🙂 Always ready and waiting for a walk with you…will need it after eating all that good food. Big hugs and lots of love for a super weekend to you too, and see you soon! ❤ xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hope the Chinese was good – but how could it not be. See you next week.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        It was 🙂 See you soon!! xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your articles which take a look into the past. I am of the Silent Generation, but prefer to call it, as some do, the “Lucky Few”, hence the name of my blog. In our home, my mother worked hard to do laundry at least twice a week. My earliest memories were of the washboard (yes, really!), on which she scrubbed the clothing by hand. She had a hand wringer and put each article through that. We were allowed to help her with that part. We were a large family, so there was a great deal of laundry. Later, my mother purchased a gas fired washing machine, which was so noisy that the wash had to be done in a shed outside. Drying the clothing in the summer was a treat, and I can remember the colorful line of clothing, sheets and towels hung our by clothespins on the clothesline, which was strung out between two long poles in the yard. Winter drying was more of a challenge, since many of the heavier items had to brought in to dry on a line in the warm kitchen. My mother was a miracle worker, and I marvel at how hard she worked to provide seven children with a home, doing everything “from scratch”, including baking bread and sewing clothing. I talk about my life on the farm in my blog, under “A senior remembers”. It’s amazing how my memories flow from so long ago. Thank you, for giving me a focus for some of them!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sharon Bonin-Pratt wrote:- Oh, now I see the Hills Hoist – in the shadow cast across baby Irene! Great photo! You are adorable.
    We had a washing machine in Hawaii the two years we lived there, but not a dryer. Hanging the laundry fell to me – baskets and baskets of it, draped over about 6 long strands of line in one section of the yard. Siblings were much younger and very spoiled, so their only job was making a mess. I hated hanging the laundry as the lines were way over my head and my arms and shoulders always ached, but I made sure to do a good job. Then of course I had to haul them in and fold them. The laundry did smell fresh and sweet. When we moved to California and had both washer and dryer, I often ironed for the whole family. It seemed that no matter how much older my sibs got, they were never old enough to take on any household tasks. Never found doing work for the entire family rewarding in any way. Baby boomer, oldest kid in my family.

    Like

  6. Pingback: Washed Up | TanGental

  7. ellenbest24 says:

    https://ellenbest24.wordpress.com/ my post on memories of laundry day in our house England 1960 something. Thank you for sharing and reminding…. 😇

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Ellen. Your description of wash day was great. I could see the steam rising off the boiling water. A Burco boiler was not something I grew up with. I find it hard to comprehend that your mother resisted an automatic machine until 1968. Just shows how women didn’t shirk hard work. Possibly it was only that more women started working that automatic machines became more common as women replaced one type of work for another. Could you let me know if you are a baby boomer and whether you lived rural or city and which country so I can include you in the right section. Thanks for joining in.

      Like

    • Thanks Geoff. Lovely to have one of your followers join in as well as your good self of course. I’m supposing you and your brother didn’t help with the laundry — as the only male you are our gender pointer and I’m guessing there is a big difference between male and female – of our generation anyway. Thanks for taking part. Your Mother was awesome – I can’t believe she didn’t jump at having a washing machine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Dad certainly didn’t. When mum had an operation he has my aunt take his washing. Now my brother and I were different mum insisted we knew how to do our laundry before we went to uni… Where here was a washing machine. Bliss. Scrubbing a dirty shirt collar wasn’t necessary…

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL. Glad to hear you are a new age man. I had visions of doing my washing down at the beach with the women on our island in Vanuatu. Banging them with gusto on the coral (the clothes wouldn’t have lasted long) and talking girl chat. In retrospect I’m glad they didn’t want me to join them although I was disappointed at the time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        It looks like hard work for sure

        Liked by 1 person

  8. ellenbest24 says:

    We lived in rural England my parents married 1953 and had four girls from 1954/1963 Mother is Scottish. My Mother didn’t require a washing machine until we were of an age when we rebelled,
    When she did get one it was a twintub top loader and still we were the launderers.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Weekend Coffee Share: 6th January 2016 | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  10. Pingback: Past Times 2: Women’s Work : Easy Breezy? (2.5 f) | Jules in Flashy Fiction

  11. Annecdotist says:

    Thought I might not manage this one, Irene, but here’s a UK Baby Boomer checking in with a concise and moody memory of washday blues:
    Memory, memoir and fiction (again): A Daughter Your Age & Washday Blues http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/1/post/2016/02/memory-memoir-and-fiction-again-a-daughter-your-age-washday-blues.html

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Pingback: Weekend Coffee share: 20th February 2016 | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  13. Pingback: Laundry: Women’s Work? | A View From My Summerhouse

  14. Sherri says:

    Hi Irene! As promised, here is my Wash Day post. Phew! Your prompt brought up some very happy memories for me…love your challenge! Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll be back to catch up with you very soon 🙂 ❤ http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/2016/02/26/laundry-womens-work/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your wonderful post Sherri and so glad that the memories of washday were enjoyable. Like you I remember my Grandma’s laundry better than I remember our own. There was something about that wooden wringer and being allowed to wind it. ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        Isn’t that interesting that we both remember our grandmother’s laundry so clearly? I think you’re right, it must be the wooden wringer. Talking of which, I’m glad you called it a wringer. My fellow Brits called it a mangle in their comments, but I notice our American friends called it a wringer. This had me thinking. Did I always call it a wringer or was that one of many words I adopted from living in the US so long that it became second nature? Or, I wonder if it depends on whereabouts in Britian we are from? We have so many dialects. I’m going to have to go away and check with my mum on this. Hubby says he would call it a mangle, but he is from Dorset/Somerset. Hmmmm….
        I love your Times Past challenge Irene, great memories 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have heard the term mangle but I don’t know whether it was in common usage here. My Great-Grandmother’s husband (the bigamist) was an American and I don’t know whether my Grandma got the term from him, whether it is used in Qld and not the other states — I don’t know either.
        Glad you are enjoying it Sherri. Like you I’m loving reading everyone’s memories which trigger a lot for me personally also. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Isn’t it fascinating going into our family history and not just for the different words?
      You mentioning your great-grandmother’s husband, the bigamist, reminded me of something quite earth shattering about my dad’s side of the family that my mother told me recently at her 80th birthday party. It doesn’t affect me directly, but it was something I had never realised before. I’ll let you know via email but I will say here that I sometimes wonder if my Dad’s family were like the British mafia, I kid you not!!!

      Like

  15. Pingback: Weekend Coffee Share: 27th February 2016 | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  16. Pingback: Times Past: Wash Day Dander – Lisa Reiter – Sharing the Story

  17. Lisa Reiter says:

    What time is it there?! Have I made it?! 11:34 GMT
    My Mum is really angry over this one.. Still! http://wp.me/p45xAV-Al

    Liked by 1 person

    • Loved this post Lisa. You have prompted so many memories for me and also given me info on items I have never heard of. Thank you for participating and yes you got it in with at least a couple of hours up your sleeve (more in reality as I will sleep before I post). 🙂 Hope your Mum has forgiven you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lisa Reiter says:

        I think it’s my father she still struggles to forgive and he’s probably not that bad for his generation! Mum and I have loved discussing this one although she’s mad all over again at the struggles to overcome these basic inequalities. A woman before her time in many ways. I’m lucky to have acquired her questioning of the status quo 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I think we are sometimes quick to judge when in reality they are a product of their time (like the missionaries in the Pacific are held responsible for such a lot but in reality they were programed by their society and can they be held responsible for their times? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lisa Reiter says:

        A tricky one as clearly some are more open-minded and can ‘see’ the inequalities – otherwise we wouldn’t make progress. But it is so slow – ugh – I’ve dusted off my angry 80’s feminist hat lately. Getting a bit shouty about it again! LOL xx
        PS What a great discussion piece this turned into 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes its been great. I’ve never been a great feminist although if we didn’t have the vote and our wages weren’t on a par I think I would have been fighting the cause. I guess I have been lucky that I have never been discriminated against as a woman and grown up in a family where I thought the woman was boss (not that my Dad was a wimp) and she went out to work and although she was particular about the house (an area in which I then rebelled) the house was not her world as it was with a lot of other Mum’s. As for myself now I wonder sometimes if I am a woman as i do few womanly tasks. On a world stage women may not be there in the numbers but they certainly are there. I don’t hold with eg political parties saying we must be made up of so many women, so many indigenous, so many minority representatives etc. I think it should be taken soley on merit and the best man in the job. And I hate politically correct language.
        Oops better stop I can see you donning that hat and picking up a baseball bat. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: Times Past: Grainy memories | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s