Specially blended for nostalgic memories…Part 2
Yesterday I talked about my grandparents front porch and today I'm going to take you to the back porch. The back porch was almost as long as the front porch but it was in the shape of an L. Instead of a porch swing it had a long bench. Along side the bench was the washer. At the end of the L was the well. The well was in use for most of my child hood. They later on modernized things a bit and had a pump by the kitchen sink.
The well was quite a scary place when I was young. We were well warned never to take chances and lean over in the well. It had a crank handle that you'd turn to lower or raise a bucket in the well to draw water. To this day I remember how good and cool and refreshing that water was. They said it was spring fed and was pure as could be. I don't think that well ever went dry. When hot summer would leave other wells dry, my grand parents always had plenty.
The bench on the back porch wasn't for sitting and relaxing. It was used mostly by Poppy, my grandfather, when he'd come in from his farm chores. He'd sit down there to remove his boots. Doing farm chores is plenty dirty, so he wore those boots faithfully.
The washer was an old fashioned wringer washer. One summer I learned how to wash clothes in it and have been very thankful ever since for the invention of the modern washing machines. First you'd have to fill the tub of the washer with hot water. You'd heat the water on the kitchen stove and carry it out to porch and dump it in the washer. Of course before you could heat it, you would have had to draw the water from the well.
After the tub was filled with hot water and I mean boiling hot water, you added the detergent and the 1st load of clothes. The first being the white clothing like t-shirts, underwear and socks. The next load would be all the dishtowels, towels and table clothes, sheets, and pillow cases. . After that load would come a load of lighter colored things like dresses or shirts. Finally the last load would be the dark clothing. Usually this was my grandfathers pants and socks.
All of these loads were washed in the same tub of water. It was used over and over. Now after each load was put through the wringer, they'd go into a big tub of rinse water. We'd use a large paddle like wooden stick to take the clothes out of the washer as they were still very hot. You'd use the same paddle to put the clothes through the wringer too so you're fingers wouldn't get caught. The rinse water didn't have to be heated but it still had to be drawn from the well. After things were thoroughly rinsed they'd have to be put through the wringer again and landed in a clothes basket to be hung out to dry on the clothes line right off the back porch.
I remember one time when I was feeling very proud of myself for having hung up the laundry when along came one of my aunts who asked me what on earth I thought I was doing. She promptly informed me that you hung the pants by the ends of the legs and the shirts by their tales. All that work had to be done over again.
I didn't like the back porch half as well as I did the back porch, but I do fondly remember the lessons I learned there.
After my grand parents died, the house was torn down. But the farm and the barn is still there.