Monday, August 24, 2009


Elle Bee at In The Kitchen With Kids
has a wonderful post on being grateful,
so please check it out.
You can spin a web of gratitude as well, the requirement are:

It can be one small thing, the only thing, that's keeping you afloat today.
It can be a story of a promise kept or a dream realized.
It can be one thing (or many things) that you love.
Maybe you're just grateful to be breathing today.
It can be someone, some place, or some feeling that brings you security.
Maybe you are in a pit of despair,
but you noticed the warmth of the sun on your arm
through a kitchen window
and it brought you a tiny measure of hope.
It can be something you're glad didn't happen!
It can be trivial. It can be deep.
It can be a gift, a miracle, or just your favorite food.

The only rule is that it has to have gratitude at it's core.

Here is my Gratitude, Woven & Spun

I have so much to be grateful for
but lately
there is one thing
that has been a constant reminder
of just how lucky
I am old washboard.

For years, I remember watching my mother doing laundry for a family of ten using a wringer washing machine similar to the one pictured here.

She would fill the washer with water from the tap, then add detergent and clothes, always starting with the whites, then darker clothes and finishing with the dirtiest load last. The same water was used for all the loads. As water was not easy to come by, it was not to be wasted. While it was a luxury for us to finally have running water after years of using a hand pump, or carrying it by the bucket full from the well, as often happened in the summer when the water level was too low to be drawn by pump, we didn't take it for granted.
As each load was washed my mom would feed it one piece at a time through the wringer at the top of the washing machine where the clothing would then drop into a large galvanized wash tub filled with clean water for rising. After rinsing, she would then run them back through the wringer before hanging outside to dry.

This tub also served as the family bathtub when set up in the middle of the kitchen floor, where we took turns bathing, all eight of us using the same water.

While things were hard for my mother, she must have felt fortunate for having the modern convenience of a washing machine compared to the hardships her mother and grandmother had to endure.

This is my great grandmother, Annie May (Crowell) Mason who was born in 1883 and died in 1919. She married when she was 16 and my great grandfather was 21 and they had ten children.
She looks like an older woman in this picture but she was just 36 when she died of TB. Apparently, when she contracted TB, she moved into a tent beside the house so that the kids wouldn't be infected as the family had no money for medical aid . She would do all the cooking for the family outside, as well as all the laundry. The kids would leave it on the front step where she would collect it, do the washing in the tent and leave it outside the door of the house for the older children to collect and take it in.

Some months ago, I had hubby bring down from the attic an old scrub board that had been stored there for years, and I have been using it ever since, mostly to give hubby's work T-shirts an extra scrub before tossing them into the washer. It is pictured here along with a bucket of homemade laundry detergent.

Every time I use it,
I think about the hardships my mom
and those before her
and I feel more appreciative for all that I have.
Using it keeps me grounded,
so that whenever" shit happens",
as it tends to do ,
I don't ever loose sight
of just how lucky
I am.


  1. I feel truly blessed for the the things I have that my mother and grandmother never had.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Sunny :)

  2. Isn't it spectacular to have something like that to wash away the crap of the, "Whaaas" when they need to be rinsed down the drain? I wish I had my grandmother's. It wasn't glass like have the high tec model!

  3. I also remember my mother's clothes would sometimes get caught in it and wrap around the ringer and torn clothing. Like this guy on video. Jullie

  4. Marisa, I absolutely LOVE your gratitude! Oh my goodness, I called my mom in and read her what your mother went through to do laundry. She had a similar bath story to yours too--the whole family one after the other in one tub of water. Wow, that sure makes me feel luxurious for the washer/dryer and shower I have. What things we take for granted and how wasteful we must seem to people who lived that way.
    You are just a delight and I'm just tickled that you spun a web! Thank you so much for joining in and for the shout out at the beginning of the post. And thanks for inspiring in me a grateful heart for some of the modern technologies I don't even think about in my own home.

  5. What a great post. Very interesting. I had to help at home too, with the same wringer washing machine. It makes me thankful too. There are even still some people here who use these machines. They save water and this is scarce around here. But thankfully I don´t have to anymore.

  6. That's a truly touching way to honor your grandmother and mother. A beautiful post.

  7. Marisa this bought a lump to my throat. The women in my family evidently had very tough lives also. My great grandmother was deserted by her artist husband, to bring up three little girls. She walked long distances to wealthy houses to do the washing and laundry with heavy irons that had to be heated over coals.They were a beautiful family bought low by poverty, but evidently the nuns helped the little girls, with their education and also taught each child the piano, which they all played beautifully.Her widowed mother also looked after the three girls,as she would often return late at night exhausted carrying more ironing.I collect photos of "washing around the world", and have some etchings of washerwomen, and a little book of Mrs. Tiggywinkle, as it gives me a connection to this past. I feel for those women, in both your family and mine.Thank you for posting this story of your family.