Tag Archives: laundry

When Everything Else Fails… Linda Knight Seccaspina

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When Everything Else Fails… Linda Knight Seccaspina

Last Sunday I put a load of laundry in the washer. I am nowhere near Martha Stewart quality when I do laundry. In fact Martha would probably put me in a laundry detention centre if she knew what I was up to. If she saw me folding fitted sheets I would have to explain to her that  I fold sheets similar to fighting a boa constrictor. It’s not that I don’t know how to do things properly as I used to help my Grandmother with the laundry on Mondays. The boiling water was heated up on the stove, and the Laundry detergent was of construction quality. As I watched the old washer toss and turn and groan I listened to her many constant stories of kitchen industrial accidents while the laundry was going through the wringer. 

In fact, even if she had asked me to help with the wringer rollers I wouldn’t  have. There was great fear of ending up with lacerations, hematomas, fractures and potentially complete removal of a hand or arm like some poor children had endured in Dunham, Quebec.. 

Again, I know what I am doing with laundry, but as Frank Sinatra sang: “I prefer to do it my way”. Yes, the first mistake was to load the washer up to TILT. I knew it was just too heavy for the machine– but I moved on. After turning the washer on I realized that I had forgotten some underwear so I pressed the red button so the lid would unlock. Instead of the machine going back on– it decided to have a complete computer meltdown.

What happened to the good old days when the Maytag was a force to be reckoned with? When you could use, abuse, and pretty well do laundry for 30 years without a misstep. 

Not anymore…

So instead of thinking carefully, I took a “how dare you” attitude with the washer and began to twist  the knob to other washes. I kept pressing button after button with all the confidence of a four year-old in a Batman T-shirt. Finally, with a clear mind, I unplugged it and plugged it back in. Isn’t that a quick fix for anything these days?

What I should have done was Google it and find out the correct way instead of acting like Slappy the Clown. Of course it sputtered and struggled and redid “wash jobs” for the next hour and a half. I stood beside it begging it to submit. As I listened to the water going back and forth, and back and forth, through the pipes I had visions that the basement was being flooded. What had I done wrong?

Actually, I had done something right. I unplugged the machine, but what I failed to do was lift and lower the lid 6 times within 12 seconds like they tell you on YouTube. I had to make sure the magnetic strip on the lid went fully down for contact to reset the machine. Who lifts a lid  up and down 6 times?  NO, I do not follow instructions, nor read step by step instructions. Why? Because you never know when you might run into something interesting.

So victory was finally mine at 5:55 Sunday evening. I had fixed the problem and had no qualms about throwing the second load in as my laundry had been breeding while I was trying to fix the issue. As I loaded the dryer the machine became off balance. Okay, dryer, let’s get ready to tumble!  Quickly, I moved the dryer a tad, put some real heavy Queen Elizabeth History books on top and gave it a kick. Sometimes you just have to ask yourself how you expect to conquer the world each day, especially when you can’t even conquer your laundry. There is no doubt that my housekeeping style is best described as:”There appears  to have been a  struggle!”

Jane McCallum — The First Lady of No-Rub Laundry Flakes

I will Wash Your Mouth Out with Soap!

What the Heck was Electric Soap? Chatterton House Hotel Registrar

As the World Turns in Carleton Place — Soap and Ground Beef

Who was Cody the Kid in Carleton Place? — Soap Box Memories

Laundry Down By the River

Lots of Laundry– Lassie Come Home!!!!

I am a Laundry Girl

Musings about Vibrating Appliances and Other Dirty Laundry

Tales From the Chinese Laundry on Bridge Street

Tales of the Queen’s Underwear and all those “Accidents”

Ashes to Ashes and Spins of the Washing Machine

Laundry Down By the River

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Laundry Down By the River
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Here is a story about wash-days in early times and it will prove an eye-opener to the ladies who today use electric washing machines and all the modern paraphernalia of wash-day.
It appears that between the 1840s and 1850s  many of the women used to wash their clothes in the river. The clothes were carried down in wicker clothes baskets. Then the clothes were put into a shallow natural basin near the shore. There was a current of water over this basin and the dirty wash water was thus carried away.
After the clothes had been put in the natural basin, they were thoroughly rubbed with soft soap or other lather-making soap and then then were pounded with a wooden pallet or heavy wooden stick till the dirt was pounded out of them. Then they were rinsed (the ladies will knew the process) and finally taken home, where they were hung out to dry on a clothesline in the backyard.
The reason that the river was used for washing, instead of the back yard at home, was chiefly because of the cost of water. Water cost 12 cents per barrel and most people in that era were poor, and kept the bought water as far as possible for drinking. Every house In those days had its rain-water barrels and the rain, water was used for all purposes except drinking.
There was no particular day was wash-day and the ladies went to the river with their household washings when it suited them best. Perhaps another reason the ladies went to the river to do their washing was the opportunity it gave them to meet the neighbours and hear all the latest neighbourhood gossip.
The women used to claim that clothes washed in the Ottawa river were cleaner than those washed at home, because of the unlimited amount of rinsing water available. Three, four or five women would wash at the one place side by side, and the washing process was made less onerous because of the talk that could be indulged in as the washing went on.

 

relatedreading

I am a Laundry Girl

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Dear Ellen,

As I have written you before I have found work in a local laundry here in Perth. Please don’t have visions of  sunlight and happiness as it’s actually located in a cramped kitchen. I was told yesterday to feel lucky as they used to have to work in a dark tenement courtyard next door.

I wash clothes all day long in dolly tubs with a dolly stick. There are also tall tubs in which large items are stirred and beaten with dollies or a plunger on a long handle. The water is heated in a large metal boiler on a stove with extra pots boiling over an outdoor fire. It provides ample washing water for the tubs and  we are watched carefully as our soap has to be used very economically.

We have to carefully mix it into the hot water for the main wash, but everyday linen is still cleaned with an ash lye. We make our own soap, which is a week-long operation involving making lye, rendering tallow, and combining them to make the soap.  We use plenty of ashes and fat,  and when it turns warm and dry we use salt to set the soap. The soap is then cured for at least three months, so we use it sparingly. Lots of soft water is needed for the washing, so  we also collect rainwater to use for the washing if at all possible.

Our laundry takes in both both domestic laundry and linen from the local hotels. We also offer a “wet wash” which is tackling bags of dirty linen and clothes for a small payment and returning them still damp.Most of the ironing is then done by the customers at home. The lady in charge tries to keep our prices down as there are quite a few mangle woman. With a box mangle they charge pennies for pressing household linen and everyday clothing.

Last year a government study by the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor found that some wet washes were “unsanitary”.  Because the laundry was sometimes washed in nets, bundle by bundle, this prevented “the proper application of disinfectants, soap, water, and heat”. Keeping the laundry damp in bags for a long time added to hygiene problems they said.

A preparation for a particular load of washing begins a few days beforehand as there is mending to do beforehand and the best part of any day is when the clothes are on the line–  unless the line or the pegs are dirty, when the clothes may need washing again.

The ironic part of all this dear Ellen is that most families have cleaner clothes than I do as I literally don’t have enough time to wash every week.

Yours in great friendship

Lydia

 

historicalnotes

Kids these days expect an app (or mom) to do everything for them. Victorian people were hardcore.

Related reading:

Musings about Vibrating Appliances and Other Dirty Laundry

Tales From the Chinese Laundry on Bridge Street

Tales of the Queen’s Underwear and all those “Accidents”

As the World Turns in Carleton Place — Soap and Ground Beef

I will Wash Your Mouth Out with Soap!

What the Heck was Electric Soap? Chatterton House Hotel Registrar

 

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

 

Where Was Onna’s Appliance Store?

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Photo from the Carleton Place Canadian Files from Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Looking for information… please add info

It’s 6:20 P.M. Friday night and my baked potato is bouncing up and down on the table. I know for a fact that it’s Friday because Sam down the hall plays his death metal music at an ear splitting volume for 1.5 hours every week.  He will eventually wander off to his local punk club and then “Mr. Reggae” will crank up his tunes on the other side of the hall.
 
Nothing bothers me anymore except when the neighbour on the left starts some sort of band practice with amplifiers at 11 pm. What I do not like is having to spend most of my day to do laundry. People kind of adopt the casual laid back dressing here and some of them look, well, a tad dusty.
historicalnotes

 

Carole Flint–The last name of Onna is Archdeacon.  The store were the vacuum shop is now was Odelle’s and that was who was in the store before Mr Flint.

RELATED READING

Eades Hardware of Carleton Place-Allen Wrenches Toilet Seats and Electric Heaters

Goin’ Shopping at The Tetlock Bros of Carleton Place

You Didn’t Go to Taylor’s Hardware Store for Milk

Musings about Vibrating Appliances and Other Dirty Laundry

Musings about Vibrating Appliances and Other Dirty Laundry

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It’s 6:20 P.M. Friday night and my baked potato is bouncing up and down on the table. I know for a fact that it’s Friday because Sam down the hall plays his death metal music at an ear splitting volume for 1.5 hours every week.  He will eventually wander off to his local punk club and then “Mr. Reggae” will crank up his tunes on the other side of the hall. 
Nothing bothers me anymore except when the neighbour on the left starts some sort of band practice with amplifiers at 11 pm. What I do not like is having to spend most of my day to do laundry. People kind of adopt the casual laid back dressing here and some of them look, well, a tad dusty.
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So heaven forbid you do laundry when two people who have obviously not washed in a month decide it’s their laundry day. There will be grocery shopping carts in the small room loaded with enough laundry to ship on a goodwill mission to some third world country. You know that they are going to wash for hours in the only two machines that are available.  When you finally get a washer there is going to be enough dog and cat hair in there to knit a fancy mohair scarf.
I push my cart into the laundry room and greet someone old enough to be my son. He smiles and says,
“Boy I see you doing laundry a lot,” and then shakes his head.
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I want to scream at him that yes I do laundry frequently because I prefer to wear clean underwear every day. I remain silent as I know that would probably be over his head as he does not wear underwear.  I can also vouch that his personal sparing of the briefs has nothing to do with saving the environment as I watch him pour his “Green” detergent into the soap compartment.
The laundry sign says not to use more than ¼ cup but seeing that he looks like he was separated from his mother barely weeks ago I am not shocked to see him pour in an endless river of soap. I want to bang on the information sign above him and point to the instructions but my eyes are too busy trying to avoid the young plumber’s crack that is being flashed.
I notice the dryer is full of someone’s clothes and they are cold. Sometimes clothing is left in the laundry room for days, and I often ponder what they wear, seeing I run out of clothing quickly.
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I realize I should change my laundry days but I am old and stubborn.  I finally get my laundry in and see the washer next to me has almost the same time left. I choose not use the extra ten minutes so I can score the good dryer first.
An hour later I run as fast as I can to see that my washer still has one minute left. I have no idea how the timers work on these machines as when there is one minute left it is usually about eight. It does not make sense and I lean against the washer wondering how these women get their cheap thrills on a washing machine. Is it the washer or the dryer? The washer is far too cold looking and I think that the dryer might be better if I let it run on high-setting 20 minutes beforehand. Or maybe add a large blanket that might cause some drum imbalance?
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I look at the dryer and see it is still full of cold dry clothes. Taking charge I put them all into a laundry basket. One thing about these kids is that they know how to do laundry as they separate their whites and colours. I have actually never done that in my life and will refuse to separate until the day I die.
Separating is much like someone telling me that I cannot wear white after Labour Day. I don’t own anything white anyways and whatever does not make it through a wash is just too darn bad. I notice a sock clinging for life and know that had I not pulled it out there would be one more sock missing in this world. Junior comes back in and takes the lint filter out and cleans it as I shake my head. He cleans the lint filter, separates the whites yet wears no underwear.
I walk by 15 minutes later to get the mail and see him sitting on top of the dryer. Obviously he has figured out that the imbalance in the dryer does the trick. Now if he would only learn the perils of not wearing underwear he will be well on his way to making someone a fine husband someday.
Notes from the Peanut Gallery:
 Why do you think his parent “kicked” him out of the house? -Father Knows why
Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

Remember When Everyone Had a Clothesline?

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1909–

Plan for Wash Day – Get up at daylight and get the washing out of the way as early as possible. It is surprising how much can be accomplished early in the morning before the regular routine of the day begins.”

Like the sewing machine, this instrument has a very important bearing upon the welfare of the family by lessening the physical labor devolving upon the wife and mother, and thus saving much of her energy for the higher and more elevated duties of the household.

• Do not let clothes freeze as it damages the fibers and fades colors.

• Add salt to rinse water to help keep clothes from freezing.

• Hang whites in the sun and colored articles in the shade.

• Make an apron with a large, baglike pocket to hold clothespins for convenience while working.

• To keep hands warm in freezing weather, boil the clothespin bag and dry the pins by the fire before heading outdoors.

• Every few weeks, immerse the clothespin bag in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Spread out the pins to dry quickly by the fire or in the sun. This keeps them from becoming brittle and cracking.

• Dip the heads of part of the clothespins in dark paint, some in light paint and leave the rest unpainted. Use the dark ones for colored clothes, the white for miscellaneous towels and the unpainted for sheer whites.

• Hang tablecloths, sheets and blankets by the corners, not draped from the middle, to keep them from being damaged in the wind.

• When taking down clothes, put the clothes basket in a wagon to move along with you. Shake the wrinkles from each article, fold and lay them orderly in the basket rather than a disorderly mess.

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From Household Discoveries and Mrs. Curtis’s Cookbook

Photo by Linda Seccaspina

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

Refraining From Being a High Voltage Lover in Carleton Place

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This small orange notebook labelled “Memo, Electric Light Co., List of Users, etc. etc, and Notes “by the way”” was kept by W.A. Braedon. On the first page he has written: “Memo of parties using the Electric Light and date when they got the Light in Carleton Place”. His list begins September 28th, 1885. Homeowners were charged by the number of bulbs and the number of hours the bulb was turned on.

In 1905 Carleton Place street lighting was improved under a ten year contract, with introduction of a year-round all night service and erection of 150 street lights to supplement the arc lamp system. Photo-Info- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

On March 1st of 1948 Carleton Place Hydro manager M. W. Rogers reported power consumption had risen over the weekend. This was a very unusual situation, and he said the blame should be put on the Carleton Place housewives. Apparently, our lovely ladies refrained from operating electric machines and ironers on Monday and Tuesday. Rogers assumed they carried their washday work over to the weekend. Mr. Rogers hoped that fact would be reflected on Monday and Tuesday with a week-day reduction similar to that effected work. Mr. Rogers, had I been alive then, I would have been protesting in front of the Carleton Place Town Hall singing the very song I posted below. Geesh!

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