Saturday, August 13, 2011

hired help

My parents didn't purchase an automatic washer and dryer set until I left home and went to college. In those days if you wanted your children to leave home, you didn't have to stopping cooking with cheese, you just kept buying clothes pins.
When I was a child, laundry was an all day endeavor. The wringer washer would be wheeled into the kitchen and a large tub filled with rinse water. Load after load would agitate, such a descriptive word for the whole experience, and the air would take on the humidity level of the equator in August.
Feeding clothing through the wringer in preparation for hanging them out to dry was thrillingly perilous. Buttons travelling through sideways could shoot out like shrapnel. Items could twist and thicken as they were drawn in, causing the wringer to spring open like a bear trap.
Many a child's eager fingers and then arm were run through the rollers before their mother sprang to their aid with a shriek. Ah, such fun.
Hanging laundry out to dry has been cloaked in nostalgia. In reality, the weather was seldom cooperative. Rain was just another rinse cycle, but "freeze dried" jeans took forever to thaw over the oven door.
My washer and dryer are standing at the ready and I'm thankful every time I slam the door and push the buttons. It feels as luxurious as having hired help.

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