Wash Day

My retirement activity fills
my life I plan for friends
relaxation and writing.
Yet my washing machine
had a computer meltdown.

I hauled sodden washing
into the tub rang the repair
man then waited … waited.

Eventually he came, replaced
the computer unit, my wash
cycle completed, my washing
was pegged on the line … Phew !

Yet there crept into my mind
thoughts of great grandmother
130 years ago newly come
from a distant land with
husband, five children.

Her husband after a very liquid
lunch fell from a great height
to his death leaving her to
raise them on her own.

The welfare scheme of the little
colonial town gifted her a
mangle to take in laundry
feed herself and her children.
Daily she filled and boiled the
copper, washed clothes, wrung
and hung them out, ironed them,
returned them to their owners.

I should be thankful
for what I have.

Wash Day

7 thoughts on “Wash Day

    1. We had a hand turned wringer clamped to the dividing wall between the two tubs in the wash house and Mum used that both when doing washing there and with the agitator washing machine from the mid 1950’s. But those old mangles were huge. thre was one in our old technology museum from the 1970’s.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yup we had a gas fired tub for doing laundry, after WW2; one my grandmother would use into her late seventies. It had a mangle attached. Which as a small boy I was intrigued with. She also used the tub for christmas puddings. Try that with a computer controlled one. Nice! Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We had a copper with a fire under it to boil water for washing until the mid fifties. That was a chore too. The ashes had to be scraped out and kindling and firewood crammed in through a tiny aperture. then light a good hour or two early to boil for washing sheets and towels. No wonder the women had to stay at home to do the housework !

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoyed this post. Brings back memories of my rather short in height grandmother standing at her hand wringer/mangler going through the long process of washing our clothes. I would visit her in the summer. Sitting on the steps that lead down to the basement and watching her do this very physical process was an amazing experience for me. I so appreciated her for so many reasons. She gave us all so much of her life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. This great grandmother supported her three daughters through their apprenticeships as tailoresses, ie dressmaking and tailoring, for which they would have been paid a pittance, if that. She too was no more than five foot tall, and and very slight build. Her three daughters were all able to earn incomes without the heavy labour of doing the washerwoman’s job. She lived to be 88, but died several years before I was born.


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