Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Dirty Clothes Basket

After the basement was dug out under the two-story part of our family home, a project I still take credit for starting, and the dirt floor was cemented over, Mom's Maytag wringer washing machine and the rinse tubs were moved down there. It was so much more convenient than hauling water to the wash house and the used water could be emptied directly onto the floor to run over to the drain beneath Dad's jury-rigged shower.

Mondays were always wash days and in the summer Betty and I were expected to help. First job was collecting all the dirty clothes baskets from around the house and dumping them on the kitchen floor to be sorted - a pile for whites, one for bedding, another for towels, a pile for the colored 'good clothes', another for colored everyday play clothes, one for jeans and lastly the men's heavily soiled work clothes.Then loading the baskets back up in reverse order of the way they would be washed, and carried down to the basement. First in the hottest water was always the whites which included the sheets because who had fancy colored sheets in those days? Towels next and then the colored clothes because by then the water would have cooled enough we didn't have to worry about colors running.

Our clothes baskets were one bushel fruit baskets like this one. At first they didn't have those plastic liners and we had to be careful not to snag something on splintered parts of the basket.

The plastic clothes basket liners that came on the market in the 50's were a boon - no more worries about snagging clothes.

The one thing having a dirty clothes basket in each of those upstairs bedrooms couldn't do was get us kids to use them!

The Dirty Clothes Basket

Monday morning and Mom is calling -
"Bring your dirty clothes basket down!"

The basket might have but a few dirty clothes 
In it. The rest were scattered on the floor.

Was it so hard to put them in the basket?
Or did we think we might wear them again?

Somehow she knew they weren't full enough, 
And sent us back to "check under the beds"!

Oh how I'd love to hear once more:
"Bring your dirty clothes basket down!"

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