Beverly White


Danish family history, Danish immigrant, Danish communities


Washday was always a major event in our household when we were children. Early every Monday morning Dad helped Mother get the necessary equipment set up. In the shed just below the kitchen, he rolled the washing machine into place, and set the two washtubs for rinsing the clothes on sawhorses around it. Then he hauled two large cream cans of hot water from the creamery (about a block away), one for the washer and one for the first rinse tub. For the second rinse tub he pumped soft water from the cistern: Mother always put bluing in that rinse to whiten the clothes. He would also fill a large boiler and place that on the wood range; Mother used that to boil and bleach Dad's shirts. When all the clothes had been washed and rinsed and wrung through the hand wringer three times, they were piled in bushel baskets and taken outside to hang on the line. Even if the weather was bitterly cold, Mother hung them out. After a while they would become as stiff as cardboard, and she would bring them in and hang them upstairs to complete their drying. Why, on cold days, she didn't hang them upstairs in the first place I don't know, but it may have had something to do with the rivalry between her and her neighbor as to who would be the first to get out her wash.