Monday, June 4, 2012

Doing the Dishes and Other Chores

image courtesy

As children quite young I can remember the three of us taking turns washing and drying the dishes.

We were the automatic washers and driers in those days. Can't say that we turned out to be a diplomat but we did learn that we needed to work in this life to get by.

Because doing the dishes was a daily task, we were not paid except for special Saturday assignments.

Each Saturday morning Mother would assign us a special task. She could have done it faster and better than we did, but that was not the question.

When we had completed our job well, we would each receive a nickel. In those days five cents would buy a large candy bar or you could save it for something else you wanted later.

Sweeping the front walk, the porch, all the stairs and the back cement area under the clothes lines was one of the first jobs I had. Later I advanced to dusting furniture and then learning to apply polish to the chair rungs and table legs. Vacuuming our front room rug was another learned chore.

My younger sister made a dancing game out of using the dust mop on the linoleum floors.

My brother Allen was excused from the Saturday house work, because he was being trained by Dad to butcher our rabbits and chickens, and that job was something I wanted no part of.

Dad taught him how to stretch the rabbit hides on a special wire and hang it in a room in our basement. We kept that room closed to prevent flies from ruining our hides. Later Dad would ship the hides away and hope for a good price.

In the summer many times I would help mother put the clothes through the old wringer washer, and also hang towels and some of the small pieces on the line. Later she taught me to iron handkerchiefs and pillow cases before I advanced to other items.

We weren’t allowed to say, “I am bored,” because sure enough Mother would find us a job to do.

Mother saw to it that our days were not all work and no play. Each week she would walk with us to our local library and we would select three books each to bring home. Some were craft books and how to do this or that.

I remember one idea was how to make necklaces out of wallpaper. We would use a cardboard pattern and cut the paper into thin triangles. Next we rolled and glued so that we ended up with a nice bead. We sewed these beads together and made our selves lovely necklaces.

I am thankful that Mother taught us to work and not to always expect a big pay check.

We were contributing to the family and work does have its rewards!

This post has been linked with Joan Davis  Sharing His Beauty
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  1. I remember my job was to clean the bathroom... By that time we had two bathrooms and cleaning up after my family, especially my brothers wasn't exactly a pleasant experience to say the least... But you're right, it taught us what real life is all about... work is part of it, and it is a blessing.

  2. well, my childhood consist of just work and no play, so now I am doing both:)

  3. When I was visiting my daughter and her family, I sometimes saw her doing tasks that I'd taught her as a girl.

    Almost always they were tasks my mother taught me when I was a girl. It was strangely comforting.

  4. Dusting the furniture and washing the dishes alternately with my sister were my chores before. Didn't like it back then but appreciate it now that I manage my own home.

  5. My husband started cleaning their bathroom when 6. And cooking began when he was 12. He's a great cook!! I've been blessed!

    My cleaning, etc., began very early. I can recognize so much... the laundry, dishes, scrubbing, and on and on. The last time I've had similar was in Uganda... no dishwasher, washing machine, vacuum cleaner... very basic. We did OK. In a way, I miss those ways of living that required stepping in together.

    It's easier today... but more complicated. If a machine has broken down, people don't know what to do next. [My granddaughters didn't know what I was talking about when I said I needed to do some ironing... THAT was a surprise.]

  6. It sounds like you had a wonderful childhood! Your mom sounds like she was a great lady! I really try to instill a great work ethic in my kids and foster kids. They love doing chores and feeling like they're part of a family. I so love your blog and have just joined it!


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