Old white man of the day

A grateful woman writes:?Quote:

This morning I placed the dirty laundry in the washing machine, pressed start and went next door for coffee. Later I transferred the clothes to my dryer, pressed a button and ?wash day? was over.

Gone is the drudgery of wash day of my childhood in rural Ireland in the 1950s.

Monday was laundry day. I helped when I was not in school. Mam was up early bringing water from the nearby pump. The big pot was boiling on the cooker and the two big galvanised metal tubs were ready in the scullery. The laundry was separated in piles according to colour and soiling. The whites were washed first, and that water was reused, topped up with hot water and the water changed as necessary. We used Rinso soap powder with carbolic soap to help remove stains.

Our washboard was a wooden frame with panels of fluted tin. It was the bane of my life. My hands were sore and chapped from rubbing dirty clothes up and down the board. We had a mangle outside the back door, and the clothes were fed through the rollers to remove the excess water. A blue bag was added to the rinsing water to whiten the shirts and detached collars and cuffs. My dad?s shirts needed to be starched, requiring yet another basin of water.

Clothes were pinned with wooden pegs on a long line in summer and winter. […]

In very wet weather the washing had to be dried indoors. A retractable line was used over the cooker, or the wet clothes were hung on the fire guard. I can still recall the steamed-up little window and the condensation running down the walls.

Washing was a lot easier when electricity and running water came to our village and we got a twin tub. I recall my mam?s delight and our neighbours coming to see this new machine at work.

Washing was hard, back-breaking work. Today, like so many women, I thank Alva J Fisher, who invented the first electric washing machine.? End of quote.