Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dishpan Hands, My Ass!

Our dishwasher died a sudden, dramatic death about a month ago (after a protracted illness). Since then, we have been washing dishes by hand and using disposable party plates as much as possible. The replacement dishwasher has now been identified, and will be ordered today. In the meantime, when I scuff my feet and moan my way to the stack of dirty dishes by the kitchen sink, I give myself a mental slap and think about how spoiled we are today.

We have the luxury of appliances that do most of our work for us. In the 1950's and early 60's Mom wasn't exactly down by the stream beating our dirty clothing on rocks, but with four children, it was a true and constant chore to keep clothes and dishes clean. In the early years, Mom had a clothes washer, but no dryer. There was a clothesline in the back yard. I have no idea how Mom kept up with it, with four small children underfoot.

There was no internet shopping. Instead, shopping excursions were a family affair.
We didn't download books - we went to the library almost every Saturday.
Remember the days before cash machines? If you needed cash, you went to the bank during business hours.
Cell phones hadn't been invented. Kids had curfews and came home when the street lights came on, or in response to shouted summons from the back door.
There were no movies on demand. We had a black and white TV with about 3 channels, and we all watched it together.
Designer clothes for kids? Harumph. Special outfits were made by Mom on her own sewing machine.
No video games. We read books, played Monopoly, skated on the sidewalk, and played dress-ups.
Gentlemen always had a clean, pressed handkerchief handy. We kids would iron them for Dad.

I could go on, but this sort of thing has been done to death and passed around via email and on Facebook. Every once in a while, it doesn't hurt to put things into perspective a bit. Right now, I'm going to enjoy a little "Retro Housekeeping". In other words, I'll be washing and drying the dishes by hand.

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