Monday, February 22, 2010

This Is The Way We Wash Our Clothes

Here we go round the mulberry bush
The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush
Here we go round the mulberry bush
So early in the morning

This is the way we wash our clothes
Wash our clothes, wash our clothes
This is the way we wash our clothes
So early Monday morning

This is the way we iron our clothes
Iron our clothes, iron our clothes
This is the way we iron our clothes
So early Tuesday morning

This is the way we mend our clothes
Mend our clothes, mend our clothes
This is the way we mend our clothes
So early Wednesday morning

This is the way we sweep the floor
Sweep the floor, sweep the floor
This is the way we sweep the floor
So early Thursday morning

This is the way we scrub the floor
Scrub the floor, scrub the floor
This is the way we scrub the floor
So early Friday morning

This is the way we bake our bread
Bake our bread, bake our bread
This is the way we bake our bread
So early Saturday morning

This is the way we go to church
Go to church, go to church
This is the way we go to church
So early Sunday morning

Monday. She writes on Facebook that her Monday will consist of laundry and other tasks. Monday.

Every Monday on the farm began with laundry. Piles of work clothes, towels, bedding all sat in the wicker laundry basket waiting their turn in the wringer washer. Every Monday clothing hung across the clothesline on the hill between the house and garage flapping in the wind or in the basement hoping to dry before the next wash day.

We grew up living “Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush”. Monday was indeed laundry day. Tuesday was ironing day. Mom would dampen down the clothes washed on Monday and place them in a plastic bag. I sat by the ironing board for hours trying to once again dry the clothing with the hot iron. Mom had me ironing sheets, pillowcases and sometimes even towels. I think she thought it would keep me out of trouble.

Perhaps Wednesday was considered a day to mend pieces that had been noticed on ironing day in need of a button or patching. Maybe it was the day when the farm woman finally had time to do a bit of handwork.

Thursday was probably the day most women decided to sweep out the farm dust and dirt. Mom scrubbed and swept the floors most days. On top of all this, she worked in the fields as well. Friday blended into all of the other days.

Saturday was Mom’s day to get ready for Sunday ‘dinner’ and to clean house before we went to piano lessons in the afternoon. Our day to go to market.

We did have a day of rest on Sunday with a wonderful Sunday ‘dinner’ waiting for us after church, company stopping in to visit or drives to go visiting. Sunday was a day of family.

I chuckled when I read my friends notation on Facebook of doing her Monday laundry. It’s Monday, and I’m doing mine as well. I wonder if this is a farm thing or universal. Are most women found sorting, washing and folding at the same time? It is a universal thing that began when women gathered to beat clothing over rocks at the communal river bank? Do Laundromats have an influx of quarters on Mondays?

I personally think it all began when Sunday became a day of rest. None of us had many pieces of clothing. We had enough clothes to get us through the school week. The farmer’s clothing was pretty nasty by Saturday. Sunday we got to wear our weekly clean Sunday garb. Monday was the time to restart the clothing rotation, the day to get back to work, the day to greet the sun and a new week of chores.

I’d write more, but I need to go change laundry loads. I don’t iron any more. I look at the iron and ironing board as archaic. I do have enough clothing to get me by more than one week. Being laid off, I have many days of rest….too many. Still Monday is that magical day smelling soap and softener, crawling beneath clean sheets tonight in clean jammies.

Ah, I miss the clothesline overlooking the creek bottom on Neff Road, but I revisit it every Monday

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