Monday, July 5, 2010

Mineral Oil Memories

Here I go again with the farm manual. I chuckle, remember and absolutely love the helpful ideas. I can see Mom in the kitchen with water streaming down her arms as she cleaned chickens (she wasn't giving the bird a bath as a younger reader might interpret). She needed idea #1; however, seeing mom with cotton wrapped around her wrists would have given her daughters lots to tease about. So enjoy. You just might find something to make you laugh or better yet, something you just might want to try.

Removing tarnish, recycling at it's best. Save that potato water to polish silver. I absolutely hate polishing silver, so the next time a holiday requiring the silver to come out of storage arrives, I will pull out the potatoes and have at it.

Remember the old upright pianos with the yellow piano keys? My grandparents both had the huge, clunky pianos. The ivories were yellow and thin. I always thought they must have found an elephant with yellow tusks to borrow for keys. Didn't realize back then this thing called poaching and extinct.  Amazing what borax, vinegar and baking soda could do.

I watch Antique Roadshow. Of course, like everyone else, I'm looking for things from the past and things that reside in my home to see how rich I could be. I had an oil painting cleaned several years ago and was surprised to see the beautiful painting that resided beneath years of neglect. Now I find that I could actually have done the work myself. Maybe I'll try it on some picture that doesn't mean as much. If it works, I'll have the cleanest art in the state of Oregon.

I guarantee that if I wash walls with the above solution, I will use hint one wrapping the cotton above my rubber gloves. I don't remember ever seeing Mom wear rubber gloves to make lye soap, do cleaning with strong solutions or handling other skin-destroying agents. Ah, the hands of the farm woman: strong, sometimes scarred and as they aged, gnarled. But oh so lovely.

The main thing I remember about lamp shades are that many people never took them out of the cellophane cover or plastic sleeves over them. Since this is info for parchment shades, I'm assuming it could pertain to oil lamp covers. The mention of mineral oil brought back the disgusting memory of that tablespoon of mineral oil that was pried into my mouth every night. Yuk! Maybe it wasn't the same mineral oil. At least I should have been shiny inside, shiny like a clean shade.

Now I find the rug section fascinating. First of all I'm not sure why there would be blood on the rug. Secondly, it sounds like a mystery novel to me. You could track the killer by his stiff, starched shirt. Sorry, side-tracked again.

Once more I have had my reflections and chuckles for today. I hope you have, too. I wonder where my grandchildren will find their smiles in my past. No doubt the outhouse would top the list closely followed by chewing on fresh oats shelled in the field, playing in the barn instead of using a wii, walking two miles to school in a snowstorm. Okay, I didn't walk two miles, let alone in a snow storm, but my parents did.

Tell your stories. Better yet, write them down. These hints and helps from this little manual were my grandparents' and parents' history, a history of Neff Road in 1944. Just maybe your history, too.


Janet said...

Pam, gotta tell you about our big old piano. It was a gift to my grandmother (mother's mom). She must have been a beautiful pianist, I have all of her sheet music and it's difficult. Anyway, she died when mother was 1 1/2 yrs old, during the 1918 flu epidemic. Her parents saved the piano and gave it to my mother when she married. I learned to play the piano as a child. Then mom gave it to me when she was moving off the farm. I tried to get Lori to play. Carla Bucholtz came to give her lessons and she locked herself in the bathroom! But today the piano, now beautiful after I had it all restored, is sitting in her living room. My granddaughter took lessons on it. I placed a plaque on it honoring my grandmother. A beautiful memory! Just wanted to share with you!

Pamela Loxley Drake said...

Janet, I'm sorry I didn't reply sooner. Blogger was having problems.

Your comment is much appreciated. I love that Carla was the piano teacher since I was her first teacher. Wow, long time ago.

With no TV to entertain me when I went to my grandparents, the piano became my focus. Yet today I find my granddaughters heading to the piano often and my youngest teaching herself with a little help from me. She is in level 2+ already.

I love that pianos were in many homes way back when because musical instruments, i.e., piano, guitar, banjo, fiddle, were family entertainment. We were the lucky ones to know music in the home and the family gathered around the piano.

Thanks, Janet. You are a dear friend, a friend on Neff Road.