When Things Get Too Easy

Monday used to be wash day; all day. Now in my late seventies, I was a mere child in the nineteen-forties but well recall every Monday was “wash day.” Mother did it and never complained. (Who ever said that there were no working mothers back then?)

How could doing the laundry take all day? Permit me to share the work required to do the family wash. First came the hanging of the clothesline; outside or in the cellar if it was raining.  Then fill the stationary tub in order to soak the items in lye soap. Scrub each item on the wash board. (Note: A few years into my youth we did get a simple washing machine that sloshed the clothes around.) Then rinse those items in the clean water side of the stationary tub. Turn the hand crank on a simple wringer or twist and squeeze the larger pieces to wring them out. Take the still quite wet items and heavy basket of wash out to the clothesline and hang them with wooden clothes pins.

As they dried, take them down and start ironing every item. There were no wrinkle resistant fabrics. Re-dampen the clothes with a sprinkler bottle before ironing them. One could not successfully iron totally dry shirts, skirts, slacks, bed sheets, handkerchiefs, or blouses. Washing, drying and ironing took about six hours every Monday.  

Then mom went to her second job of the day, cooking dinner. There were no packaged meals and no microwave to heat them. Finally, wash every dirty pot, pan, dish, etc. There were no dishwashers back then. The effort surrounding dinner required almost two hours.

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Today we load the automatic clothes washer, move them to the close dryer and, once dry, fold the wrinkle resistant clothes. Weekly wash requires about one hour of labor.

Next, contact Grub Hub to bring a prepared meal to your door. Clean-up takes about twenty minutes. With seven hours of labor saved, there is plenty of time and energy left to surf the internet, look at dozens of items on social media and text your friends. Can we agree that many things that once were difficult have become very easy?

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