Friday, March 12, 2010

Absolutely my last post about drying (until the next one...)

This is my grandma! She's the woman who taught me how to bake, using traditional techniques, and nothing more labour-saving than a rotary whisk. She's also the woman who spent the 1970s thinking that adding violently orange 'breadcrumbs' to a piece of fresh fish from Brixham fishmarket could only improve the meal...
And I think I can understand where she was coming from. She'd grown up in a time when women who wanted something at home had to do it for themselves or make it from scratch, and suddenly, from the 1950s onwards, she was offered a world where women could choose to work at what they liked (baking, sewing, gardening, speaking and playing the piano at meetings and raising money for charity, in her case) and find an easier option for the things they's always hated (making breadcrumbs for her, it appears!)
In addition, life wasn't just getting easier thanks to the introduction of new technology, it was also getting very exciting indeed! Having read Bill Bryson's 'The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid', I can see why people in the 1950s were just deliriously thrilled by the technological possibilities opening up in the world.
Advertising took a lead in telling us why the new labour-saving devices were better than the old ways, and often, the adverts were right - this post may turn up a reader who has brooms and sweepers INSTEAD of (not as well as) a vacuum cleaner, but I doubt it - vacuum cleaners just do a better job, so we all use them now.
And I guess it was this combination of liberating technology and forceful advertising that convinced home owners' associations that outdoor washing lines were a sign of poverty and generally being behind the times!Fascinatingly, Andi's comment on my last post shows that washing lines were banned in some places in the UK, as well as in the USA - her uncle wasn't allowed one in the 1970s. And I find it very understandable. Wrong, when viewed from the long term, just like my grandma's orange breadcrumbs! But perfectly understandable.
j
Thanks for all your great comments by the way - I love the way Joy's grandmother: "had two clothes lines. One under in the back of her house that was more shaded for colors and the other out front where it was open to the sun." That's really handy! I could do with that here.
j
So, I promise you that tomorrow any post I do will contain no reference whatsoever to laundry...
j
..but Sunday's Pause in Lent is shaping up to have something to say about advertising! Joined-up-thinking, that's what it is...

18 comments:

Elizabethd said...

Interesting that it was always Mummy who loaded and unloaded machines!

Kissed by an Angel said...

Phew - I feel quite washed out!!!! Love those vintage American adverts!!!
xxxx

Pomona said...

I feel that I have come in on the end of a long story! I don't have a tumble dryer at all, and have always managed without, even with using washable nappies for the children. I have always had lots of washing line space outside - using old hop poles or stakes as posts - washing dries much quicker on a straight line, than on a rotary one. And I have a sheila (drying rack) above the Aga, and also use clothes horses in front of the woodburner, but always hang it outside on dry days even in midwinter. This winter has been a bit of a nightmare because of being so wet, but as long as I don't let the washing pile up too much, then I can manage. I find one of the most blissful sights in the world is a line full of washing on a breezy, sunny day - very satisfying, indeed!

Pomona x

marigold jam said...

I'm with Pomona there! I have never had a tumble dryer and the sight of a line of washing blowing in the wind (as it has this week) makes me very happy and the thought of that fresh air smell when I bring it all in dry, well.... My mother never had a washing machine although she did succumb to a spin dryer. My American friend who came to stay last summer was amazed to think that I didn't have a tumble dryer and wouldn't hang her washing (we'd just had a domestic day mid stay) on the line insisting that it needed tumble drying or she'd have to iron it! Spent all afternoon driving round (using up energy in the way of petrol of course) looking for a laundrette and the only one we found didn't pass muster!! So at the end of a beautiful drying day (I'd got all mine dry ironed and put away)we brought all her washing home and had to hang it on the airer indoors to dry!!!

Mrs Yappy Dog said...

Love your grandma's hat, She looks a really well turned out lady. My grandma had a poss tub and a mangle, I used to love helping with the mangle as a child, I did my dad's socks!

Sherri B. said...

It does my heart good to have so many "clothesline sisters". I will never tire of this sweet subject Floss, so thanks again for bringing us all together. Happy washing all!!

Kelly said...

Brilliant adverts! Can you imsgine being without a washing machine? I'd be devestated!

Lalabibaby said...

I could live without most things but a washing machine never .... my old nan just had the kitchen sink and a mangle but there again they didn't have as many clothes as we seem to nowadays. My lot used to think nothing of three changes a day ! I must say your gran cuts a dash in that hat ... have a lovely weekend Floss x

Lululiz said...

You two look so much alike! Seeing your photos next to each other at the top there, you have the same smiles, just looking in opposite directions.

mise said...

I'm enjoying the drying posts, and your wonderful grandmother, and the memories you're brought back to me of my mother's happy transition from no machine to twin-tub to automatic. More drying posts are very welcome!

Purrfect Haven said...

i think I am just going to have to get laundry hanging OUTSIDE - lovely post. We have just had a wonderful time in Bergerac - see post about it at www.happinesskindled.blogspot.com Helen x

skippinginthemeadow said...

a fun and fascinating post. i love laundry, i really do :o)

your granmother looks wonderful.

wishing you a happy relaxing (laundry free) weekend xxx

sumea

Andi's English Attic said...

Hanging the washing out even appears in the book Nineteen Eighty-Four, when Winston hears the woman singing as she hangs out the clothes. What a strange bit of the book to remember! Anyway... my kids sniff my ironing. For some reason they both dive for the freshly-ironed clothes and take long sniffs with their noses buried in the fabric. And my son is 17! xx

Itch2stitch.com said...

Actually yes, you can see how wonderful all these new time saving devices, methods, etc., would appear to women who had always had to everything the hard time consuming and laborious way! Your Grandmother is a lovely smiley lady, what a fantastic photo! Loved this post! suzie xxx

Mami said...

What a interesting story!!
In fact electrical machines were imported from other countries in Japan 1950's around. My mother washed clothes by her hands-It was hard work for women. No vacume cleaner,even rice cooker,and of course no microwave etc..
considering i am so luckily mother because my houseworks are almost doing by machine. I just press some buttons anyway.. Electricity is quite neccesary for us.
thank you for sharing wonderful thoughts.

Joy said...

Your Grandmother is so pretty. Thanks for posting her picture. I loved seeing all the old ads. How fun. Love that pink washer/dryer.
I posted on my facebook page and asked my friends about clothes lines. It was an interesting mix of responses some yes and some no's and some want to have one. I'm in the want to have on category. My husband is very against it though. He just doesn't understand.
It has been lots of fun to discuss. Thanks for bringing it up for discussion.
♥ Joy

Ticking stripes said...

As ever I'm behind with the washing (posts)! I have to add that we have an area in Nottingham - "The Park" where you are not allowed to hang your washing out. It is very posh and they probably have to pretend such things don't exist!

Josie-Mary said...

Love those old US washing machines. Bread crumbs....ahh yes I'm a child of the 70's...we had them on everything!!! :) x