Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wringers, mangles and laundry day

When I was little my grandma Dorothy had a wringer washer. I loved to help her on laundry day. First we sorted the laundry: whites, lightly soiled colors, soiled colors (Grandpa's work shirts), then darks. After the laundry was organized in neat piles we ran the washer full of hot water using a hose hooked to the water heater. Add the soap. Add the laundry. Turn it on. Have a snack.
After the laundry was good and agitated came my favorite part - running the clothes through the wringer!
"Be careful you don't get your finger caught," Grandma would say. "Your Aunt Ruth got her fingers caught once and ran her arm into the ringer clear up to elbow. You don't want that to happen."
Grandma Dorothy taught me to fold the flat things like towels and sheets so they would run through the narrow wringer without jamming.
"Watch out for your fingers." Oops it almost got me.
Then she taught me how to release the wringer so I could get the towels that jammed out of the wringer and try again.
She taught me to fold the blue jeans so that the zipper was protected.
"Watch your fingers." Oops I felt the pull of the ringer on my finger tips.
She taught me to fold anything with buttons so that the buttons lay flat and were protected from being crushed from the wringer.
"Keep your fingers back." Near miss. It almost got me!
Laundry day was exciting!! All those close calls!

Then one day Grandma went to an auction and came home with a "mangle".  I was fascinated. It was a metal cabinet. Inside was a cloth covered roller. You plugged it in and it heated up. She said you could iron sheets. Who knew you could irons sheets. My mom folds the flat sheet and stuffs it along with the fitted sheet into the pillow case that matches so the set stays together. 
It worked a lot like the wringer on the washer. Feed the material into the roller and it came out pressed.
"Keep your fingers out of the way or you'll get burned." Wow such danger and adventure in the laundry room!
Grandma told me if you were really good you could iron shirts and pants and skirts and dresses. And my grandma was THAT good.  I never got that good, but she did let me iron the flat sheets and her table cloths..

Saturday, June 12, 2010

June Birthdays

June is a big birthday month in our family. My great Aunt Ruth on the first, my sister on the 7th, me on the 8th and my little brother, Chris, on the 9th. Sooo many birthday's so much cake. At some point that I just can't remember we started having one family birthday party in June. As a kid I all those birthdays got pretty muddled together.  

As an adult, I've made it a point to call the birthday boy/girl and sing them happy birthday on their special day. Ok  it's off key usually and once I had to resort to texting, but the sentiment is there.

So on the 7th, I got ready to call my sister, Laura. I asked mom if she wanted to help sing to her baby. She looked a bit puzzled. "Which one?"  Even Mom has trouble remembering which one of us comes first.

On the 8th, my husband, whispered "Happy Birthday" when we woke up. He's at least go my birthday down.

So on the 9th I dialed Chris's cell and sang my song. "Thanks," he said laughing, "I know it's my birthday, but which one is yours?"

That evening we got together at our house for one of our classic family pitchin dinners. Over dinner Chris confessed that he wasn't even sure which day was his birthday until he was almost 10 years old.

So I told him how I keep it straight: Aunt Ruth was the oldest so she came First (6/1), Laura came before Chris so hers is the 7th. I know I was born on the 8th. Chris came latest so he is last on the 9th. Dad's birthday is easy for me now... it's also my anniversary on the 17th.

Now I only have to consult my "Birthday Book" for my nieces, nephews, mother, cousins... Oh well I have June birthdays down. :^)