I had a restless night, and woke up late this morning. Took me several seconds to get oriented to what day of the week it is. Lots of people say that not being in their regular routine makes one day seem like all the others.
Anyway, I got to thinking about Saturdays as I was growing up. Saturday was chore day. Mom took care of the week’s laundry down in the basement. It was a lot more work then. Wringer washer, no dryer. In good weather, she could hang things outside. In not-so-good weather, there were lines in the basement for hanging the wet clothes. It was also the time of mixing her own starch, blue and pleasant-smelling, for Dad’s white shirts. As things dried, she took them down, sprinkled from a coke bottle filled with water and corked with a gadget that had holes in it. She rolled the clothes up, put them in her plastic ironing bag, and zipped it shut. In hot weather, the bag went into the fridge. We didn’t have the conveniences of wrinkle-free fabrics back then. We learned to iron pillow cases, handkerchiefs, and all our own clothes when Mom felt we were capable of handling a hot iron. I always enjoyed the smell the heat of the iron released from the clean clothing.
While all that was going on downstairs, my sister and I were cleaning. We had it divided up, and switched off every other week. I don’t remember the details now, but it seems that the one who did the floors also cleaned the bathroom. The other did the dusting (lots of woodwork back then) and the general picking up, putting away, and taking out the trash. I hated dusting. Still do. Boring and futile.
Our tools: Dust mop, carpet sweeper, rags, furniture polish, cleanser. We didn’t have a vacuum until later, but that carpet sweeper did a good job.
Once the chores were finished, we were free to go outdoors, or, if the weather was bad, to stay in and read, play games, listen to music, or maybe bake a batch of cookies or some other dessert. Mom rested on Saturday afternoons. She worked full time at a bank in downtown Minneapolis, and she treasured her Saturdays.
Saturday night was bath-and-hair-washing night. Afterward, Mom would set our hair by making tight pin curls anchored with Bobbie pins. The result the next day was a Shirley Temple look, but parted down the middle, no bangs. I remember asking her if I could start doing my own hair when I was around eight years old. There were some disasters along the way, but at least I didn’t have that awful headful of fuzzy curls any more!
Well, it’s just the two of us now, going on 51 years together. No little kids to help with household tasks. Saturdays are not organized the way they were when I was growing up, or even when our kids were still at home. It’s a relaxing day, though, now that we’re finished with extracurricular school activities and such. And right now, it seems like any other day. I’m hearing different predictions: The lockdown ends May 1; no, June 1; no, depends on statistics; no, partial lifting of suggested restrictions. Bottom line: No one really knows for sure.
I noticed a post on Facebook this morning about old-fashioned Depression-style cooking. I’ll probably take a look, but I grew up with a mother who grew up during the Depression. I already know how to cook inexpensive, hearty food. I know how to substitute one ingredient for another; and how to make meat-free meals that really do fill you up. Nothing new, is there?
Happy Saturday to you, however you spend it 🙂