First we drew water from the
To fill the black wash pot.
A fire was built around the pot,
Water had to be boiling hot.
We drew three tubs of water..
White things were washed first.
We would rub these on the washboard,
To clean the spots that were worse.
Then we squeezed the water out.
Into the wash pot they went,
To be boiled for a little while.
This was the first event.
While these things were boiling,
We started on the next pile.
Sometimes we might have two or more.
White things took awhile.
We would empty the first tub,
And all white clothes were rinsed,
Through three tubs of rinse water,
Until all soapy suds were spent.
Before we got to the last rinsing,
We had a little bottle of bluing,
And added just a few drops,
Had to be sure what we were doing.
Clotheslines were stretched in the yard.
All things had to be hung,
Each piece just right in a certain way,
Over the line they could not be flung.
After all the whites were on the line,
Next came the colored things.
My Grandma had a battling board,
To loosen the dirt that clings.
My Grandpaís dirty work clothes
Always hit the battling board.
She let me help beat his overalls.
This was really a big score.
Everything was scrubbed on the washboard.
This is where hard work would shine.
All was rinsed through three tubs of water,
This made them ready for the line.
By this time the whites were dry.
But if you had plenty of insight,
You would leave them all day,
The sunshine kept them white.
Oh I forgot one important thing.
All pillowslips were starched.
Even shirts, dresses, doilies and overalls
Were starched and hung to dry.
After things hung out in the sunshine,
They really smelled fresh and clean.
We kids though it was a lot of fun,
Running in and out with sheets between.
We would keep our eyes on Grandma.
Because if she caught us,
We would be in a lot of trouble,
And she would make a lot of fuss.
When the washing was all dry,
It was carried inside.
Things that had to be ironed were dampened,
So water had to be applied.
This was done with a sprinkling bottle.
Left overnight rolled up tight,
So they would be dampened just right,
Ironing would began about daylight.
I will have to leave the ironing,
And let you guess for awhile.
This poem is already too long
So Iíll just leave you with a smile.
©Codell Reed Donehoo