Jan 12, 2017

Refrigerators, Ice Boxes, and Washing Machines

Pin ItDuring World War 2, from 1942 to 1946, metal was scarce, and you couldn't even get a new car. You had so many bronze and silver looking pennies because they didn't make copper ones during the war. I remember sorting somebody's pennies and putting all the gray ones in one stack and all the copper ones in another stack.

So it was after the war that everyone started getting new appliances. Aunt Oakie got a Frigidaire refrigerator, which was still being used by Mama in 1993 when she died. Shortly after Aunt Oakie got that refrigerator, my family got a Kenmore two-door refrigerator. These both had to be defrosted, but before we had a refrigerator we had an ice box. The ice man came every other day and you put a sign in the window that pointed to how much ice you wanted that day. Occasionally we stopped at the ice house to get ice on the way home from Grandma's, and put it on the Model A running board. Most people my age still call a refrigerator an ice box. One of Daddy's most favorite things was having ice cream in the refrigerator to have any night you wanted it.

Shortly after the war, we got a used washing machine that was the ringer type. Then we got a new Kenmore. Both of these required rinsing and running the clothes through the ringer at least twice. We had one tub that had wheels on it and another that you sat on a wooden stool that Daddy built. We drained the soapy water out of the washing machine with a hose that watered the grass outside of the fence. Every week you could tell where the water had drained because of the green grass. We mostly did washing on Monday and then ironed on Tuesday and cleaned house on Friday. Wednesday and Thursday we didn't have a certain chore.

I don't remember how we washed clothes before we had a washing machine. Grandma used to put her clothes in the water on the stove. Aunt Oakie sent her work dresses to the cleaners. All our clothes were hung on the line to dry. We used starch where necessary, and the work pants were put on pant stretchers, which caused them to have a crease as well as taking out a lot of the wrinkles. During the '50s when all the skirts were full, my petticoats were starched and hung on the line so they would stand out. The starch was a compound that you bought dry and used hot water to mix up. You dipped the clothes in that mixture after they were rinsed and you put them back through the ringer. After they dried on the line you had to sprinkle them with water before they were ironed.

One summer Bobby and I helped Mama hang out the wash and then she would to take us swimming at "Terrible Smells." Its name was actually Terrell Wells and it was a sulphur pool. It was a private pool that was open to the public, but they could refuse service to anyone they wanted to. Most of the city parks had public pools at that time.

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