Washboards, Washing Machines, And Memories

Lynn Dorman, Ph.D. // Aging, human interest


July 16  

I have had a lot of conversations of late with a good friend, my age, who is visiting, and we have been reminiscing about how things were…


It’s fun to try and remember how life was before all the conveniences we take for granted were in existence, or in my existence. Things like washing machines, TVs, checking accounts, credit cards, and a whole lot of other modern conveniences…. 

I have decided to write about these to refresh my memory and to make some sort of record for 

my son and anyone else who is interested in living history.

 I often regret that I did not push my own mom a bit harder to talk more about her childhood and youth – she was generally reluctant to talk about it so I did not push hard.  Now I wish I had asked a lot more questions.


Memories about washing clothes


There aren’t many household chores I enjoy – but washing clothes, oddly, is one I love. 

I don’t do them by hand; I do have a washing machine so the part I love is hanging them outside on a line to dry in sun.

Doing this often has me thinking back on how we washed and dried clothes before all the modern appliances came into being.

I remember a double sink in the basement of the house I grew up in. It was deep to hold the washing board and I think it was made of concrete.

My mom used Fels Naptha and scrubbed the clothes in one half of that sink and rinsed them in the other half. They were then wrung out by hand, and hung outside on a line to dry, or hung on a clothesline in the basement when the weather was bad.

I don’t recall when we got a real washing machine, but I do remember it had a wringer on it!  One fed the clothing thru that wringer to squeeze out excess water.

That was modern technology!

Over the years, I moved on to machines that wash, rinse, and spin dry….

Yes, I do own a dryer, but my preference will always be the sun! 


And PS – I now make my own laundry soap and guess what? The main ingredient is Fels Naptha!

What are some of your memoir of how things  were? 

Stay tuned for more “blasts” from my past  :roll

  • ” I do have a washing machine so the part I love is hanging them outside on a line to dry in sun.”

    Like the way your thinking. Too shame that I can’t force my brain that I can feel the same when i”m hanging my clothes. Hate it, that is why I always trying my husband to make that for me 🙂

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    About the Author

    Native of NYC who moved a lot, got several degrees, and has been a lifelong writer and reader... I am interested in many things - and I write [and teach] about them - especially the human lifespan and healthy aging

    Lynn Dorman, Ph.D.