Friday, March 08, 2013

Look ma, no hands!

Proof that everything is relative to historical context.  And that you can get along without an index finger on your left hand, as long as you're right-handed.  (She must be - her right hand's doing a double Vulcan salute.)

Okay.  End of snarky comments about this old ad, scanned from a 1946 McCalls magazine.  Now, the memories

My mom had a Maytag wringer washer and it was one scary machine - the wringer snatched away our dripping dresses and shirts without so much as a please or thank you.  It was durable, though, and Mom used it to wash the family's clothes from the late '40s through the early '70s.  But because she recognized its danger, and she had the special training that Moms get, the laundry room was her domain.  It was in the basement, dark and gloomy, and Dad's boyhood story about what he and a friend did to a barncat secured its place as her exclusive territory.  

By contrast, hanging the clothes outside to dry was a shared family activity.  Mom was shorter than me, so I reached the line and pulled it down for her to reach.   Then she deftly placed the clothespins exactly where they needed to be.  Somehow, the number of clothespins in the basket always matched the number of items to hang - unless I "helped".

It wasn't until I was a teenager and went to the laundro-mat that I discovered that one could wash clothes without risk of amputation.  And a dime in the dryer meant you could dry a whole load without calculation.  The spin-dry cycle, and some stern warnings about the danger of lint, allowed my own kids to learn early on that laundry was a family affair.

And our house cat could relax.

1 comment:

Anne said...

I do remember how wringer washer and put rubber diapers through that wringer diapers and explodes and I ruined a couple of shirts
My job was to make sure they didn't wrap around the rollers which sometimes happened anyway causing it to pop, separating the rollers,If it does, an article of the wash may
wrap several times around a roller before it is noticed; unwinding such a
piece is often difficult, sometimes impossible without removing a roller .
Its you're already happened?