Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The vagaries of research

First of all, Jenyfer Matthews awarded me the "Blogging with a Purpose" award. It is an excellent award! Thank you, Jenyfer!

Next I must award it to five blogs I feel are worthy and since Jenyfer has already been picked, I can't choose her even though I thoroughly enjoy her glimpse of life in Cairo. If you've never checked out her blog, please do so now! http://jenyfermatthews.blogspot.com/

I am going to take another day to consider my choices carefully. Please tune in tomorrow to see who I pick.

In the meantime, back to the research. The world of the internet is a wonderful thing. However, it does have a couple of drawbacks. One of those is the large number of people who copy information from other sites, slap it on their own site without any acknowledgements, and then twist the facts to their own purposes. Sigh. Groan. Yawn.

After several hours of surfing, I'm convinced that I'm looking at the same two or three pages...at least the same information. I've queried as many different ways as I can think of and still I encounter the same stuff. Anyway, it's certainly been an eye-opening experience. Anytime you research the origins of tradition, you find out things that you might not have wanted to know. For instance, did you know that Christmas wasn't widely celebrated in the United States before the Civil War as it was considered a PAGAN holiday? In Massachusetts it was even against the law for a period of about twenty five years. Very interesting.

Tonight I was talking to my friend Jane. She was describing her experience with teaching a young teen how to iron. Then we started reminiscing about what it was like when we were young. Does anyone else remember wetting the clothes with a sprinkler and rolling them up. You kept the un-ironed clothes in the drawer in the refrigerator so they didn't mildew. Before there was spray starch you could either starch the entire article of clothing or you could add a little powdered starch to the water in your sprinkler bottle.

How about bluing? Anyone else remember the little bottle of bluing that you used in the rinse water? Any of you do wash in a genuine wringer washer? We started out with really hot water for the white clothes. Then the same water (a little cooler by then) for the light colored clothes. After that came the sheets and towels (same water!) and then finally the dark clothes. I wonder how we ever got them clean?

I had a "squaw" skirt made out of a turquoise crinkly fabric. My mom would wash it and then hang it outside to dry in the inside of a nylon stocking so that it retained it's crinkly self. Then when I wore it, I had a crinoline underneath so that it poofed out all around me. How many of you remember wearing crinolines? You had to be careful when you sat down. Otherwise you shared all your "good bits" with the boys without meaning to.

Do you remember when we were taught to sit like a lady? How about wearing a slip? Or a girdle? Or horror of horrors a garter belt. The only thing more uncomfortable was (TURN AWAY MEN) a sanitary napkin belt. Ah, the mysteries of womanhood.

Heh. I remember ironing day! It was endless. One of the first chores I shucked was ironing. The only thing worse was taking all the rugs outside so that I could "beat" the dust out of them. Can we talk about asthma?

Well, enough of walking down memory lane. Until tomorrow...


Don't forget to check out the ladies!!! Amarinda, Kelly, and OhGetAGrip!


  1. I remember Mum sprinkling clothes with water before she washed them - and I still wear a slip because some outfits look tacky without one and I like the whole lace against your skin thing.

  2. Thankfully, I was born in the era of wash and wear clothing; modern feminine hygiene; and the only crinoline I wore was on '50's Day' during Spirit Week at school! And yes, I still wear a slip when I put on a dress or skirt:)

  3. I saw an article the other day about washboards: there's one company in the US still making them, and they've started getting orders from soldiers in Iraq. The old ways may fade, but it takes a long, long time for them to really die out.

  4. Nope. Don't remember any of that stuff. In fact, I didn't know how to do the laundry until I went to college as we had servants. Seven of them at one point. I had chores, so don't even go there with me as it pisses me off. My mom made sure we did our share where others in the same circumstances did not. I'm so glad she did.

  5. Congrats on the blogging award. It's always nice to have a purpose :-)

  6. There are some things we need to revive for today's girls. I couldn't believe how many girls I had to teach to smooth their skirt under them as they sat down. They'd wear these short, flouncy cotton skirts and when they stood up they were creased upward awarding the world a view of their choice in undergarments.

  7. Or their lack of undergarments, Jae...

    Thank you ladies for your great comments! Wash boards... man, that brings back some memories, Elissa.

    Hmmm. I do own a slip. Haven't had an occasion to wear one in quite a while, though.

  8. I remember my mom "sprinkling" the clothes before ironing. Recall them being balled up in the fridge and the rolling thing from the washing tub. OMG...I was very young but it made me tired watching her. We did wear those foofy crinolines when I was little. We loved to twirl in them and I don't think we gave a flip whether our Day of the Week panties showed. LOL. Ahhh the good old days.