Breland: Washer and dryer lessons any wash day

Published 11:24 am Friday, February 18, 2022

It was Tuesday morning and I was a day late putting clothes on to wash. I usually do the old-time routine on traditional Monday, but I had spent that as a rest day after the weekend. Not that it was a big weekend, but I was tired.

I did stop a minute and was thankful for my washer and dryer. It caused me to think about old-time wash days, and how far I had come in the evolution of the process!

As a small child, we had moved to a new house up on the highway, excited that we had electricity. The good part was we had a water pump and mother had a washing machine. She would not be washing the old-fashioned way anymore.

Her machine was known as an Easy Spin Dryer. I remember no hose pipes or anything like that, unless it was for draining, but she still had a lot of work as she heated water in a tub on top of the gas stove to put in the washer for getting the clothes really clean.

It didn’t use a wringer like most modern machines; it had a “spinner” on one side to wring water out of the clothes. It was still an arduous process, changing the waters and draining the tubs, but a lot better than tub-washing outside. Mama loved her modern washing machine!

Visiting with my Aunt Fannie on her wash day could be a childhood treat. She lived down the road away from electricity and had to do her washing the really hard way. Thankfully I arrived too late to have to do this heavy type of laundry.

It was quite a task from drawing water from the well, heating some in the wash pot for washing clothes, hand washing on a rub board and wringing everything — plus hanging out heavy wet clothes to dry on the clothes line.

Particularly in the summer, my cousin Arlene and I loved to get into the used rinse water after the wash was finished. Since it was at her house, she usually got the last tub, which was a lot cleaner than the first one. We were wrinkled from the water and felt so good after those tub soaks!

I didn’t have to worry about washing clothes until after I married. We first brought our clothes to his mother’s and used her wringer washer. In a few years, especially after we had two children, we used a laundromat on Pleasant Hill in Bogalusa, but it wasn’t coin-operated.

When Rob went to work he would drop our clothes off there. A lady washed, dried and folded clothes for customers. When he got off work, he picked them up and brought them home. Very convenient for me!

As our family was growing, we bought a wringer washer and put a clothes line in the back yard when we moved back to the country. Carrying heavy wet clothing outside, hanging them out, getting them in, folding and putting them away was a big job. Lots of times I had clothes piled up on a bed waiting to be folded and put away.

About the time our wringer washer bit the dust, a coin-operated laundromat opened up close by and washing clothes became a little less of a job. It took time, but it was also a great way to visit with neighbors while clothes were washed and dried.

Because — miracle upon miracle, somebody had invented the dryer. When personal ones came on the market, the Breland family — by now with four children — had to have both a modern automatic washing machine and a wonderful clothes dryer.

Nothing quite like it; quite a blessing, I thought today as I took the clothes from the washer and put them in the dryer. Quite a few machines have gone by. Are there any other appliances in the house as handy to the average keeper of the clothes? I think not.

What will be next? I pray my aging ones last until somebody figures out a better way to do laundry. Otherwise, I am thankful!

 Retired as Associate News Editor, Bob Ann Breland writes a weekly column for The Daily News. You can email her at bobann70@att.net.