TOP O THE MORN: Don't cry for the 'good' old days

Many people who are interested in old stuff and people who sigh over the “good old days” of wood stoves and baths once a week should take another look at comforts and conveniences of today.

It is fun to reminisce about life before technology gave us the refrigerator, TV and central heating. Life was different back then. But make no mistake, it was a hard life.

The week was divided into chore days: Monday wash; Tuesday iron; Wednesday mend; Thursday clean; Friday shop; Saturday bake. Each chore as performed in the good old days left no time for an afternoon of bridge, cocktail parties or a night on the town.

Grandma Neil told us of some of the work involved in a farm wife’s day. Monday, of course was wash day. While most women scrubbed preboiled clothes on a washboard to remove dirt, Grandma Neil was lucky enough to have a new fangled washing machine. Handpower moved a wooden dolly in the machine and agitated the clothes. Electric power didn’t come to Whidbey Island until 1925.

Clothing was mended, patched or darned, nothing was thrown away. Hand-knitted wool socks worn through at heels or toes received the attention of knitting needles. Overall patches were acceptable and necessary but a patch on a patch was slovenly.

Cleaning day involved elbow grease with soap and water, not with vacuum cleaners. Salt sprinkled on a rug then swept up would bring out the colors and get out the dirt. A kitchen linoleum (most kitchens had bare floors) was “waxed” by putting a cup of milk in the rinse water.

Baking day? Canning? Cooking for threshers? Well, one can only imagine. All were done on the wood range. No refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers or electric mixers cluttered kitchens.

Homemaking was a full time-plus job. The best thing about the good old days is that they are no more.

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