A Convenient Life
We flip a switch, and the room is flooded with light. Push a button to wash a load of clothes or dishes. Turn a faucet for your choice of hot or cold water. All these things we take for granted are conveniences not even imagined by our ancestors. Depending on our age, it might have even been our grandparents.
One of my grandmothers passed away in 1945. She raised 6 sons to adulthood without even one of those conveniences. The only light she knew came from a kerosene lamp. She cooked meals on a wood stove. I have the iron wash kettle she bought to wash the diapers of her twin boys, one of whom was my father. She would build a fire under the kettle to heat the water and use a scrub board to clean them. She would heat water on the stove to wash the dishes or for bathing. She never had a refrigerator, only an icebox.
My other grandmother died in 1953, just a few years after electricity was brought into the rural areas. She got to experience electric lights and refrigeration. By this time my mother, who had herself used a washboard for years, owned a Maytag wringer washer. It had to be filled with water by hand, but a hose drained it when the job was completed. What a wonder it was! She would wash Grandma and Grandpa’s clothes and linens.
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