Monday, October 13, 2008

Housewives-A Lost Art

Back when I was a young girl, my mother taught all of us (my brother included) how to cook and bake. She taught us how to can produce and make jelly and how to sew. We learned how to do laundry from sorting the whites and colors to folding and ironing. We all had our chores inside the house as well as outside and they had to be done before we could play. I remember our house smelling of cinnamon and sugar and homemade bread when she baked and the smell of laundry soap when she did the wash. We had one of those wringer washing machines back then where you put the clothes through the wringer to get the water out (none of this spin cycle stuff back then) and you pushed it through with a wooden spoon because you didn't want to get your hand caught. Then into the wash tubs full of cold water to rinse the soap out and through the ringer again. This was repeated once more before we hauled the clothes out to the clothesline and hung them up to dry.
We had a huge garden at the end of our yard where we grew our vegetables and lots of fruit trees that we used to make the jellies and jams. Every summer our house was filled with steam from the pressure cooker used in canning vegetables that we would eat all winter long. Mom used to make the best Bread and Butter pickles (to this day they're still my favorites). I can remember listening to the lids pinging as they sealed when the house was quiet after we had gone to bed.
My mom also sewed and made almost all of our clothes as well as Barbie doll clothes. We have pictures of all of us girls dressed alike for Easter. She used to make beautiful dresses full of detail. She also crocheted and knitted everything from sweaters to afghans and baby layettes.
She made sure all of us learned how to do these things whether we wanted to or not (and sometimes we really didn't want to) telling us someday we would be glad we knew how. She was right.
As I married and had my own family, I found myself cooking, baking, growing a big garden and canning vegetables, making jelly and jams and sewing for my children (even the dreaded Barbie doll clothes) Laundry was never my favorite and still isn't but at least I know how to do it. I tried to teach my own children all these things but this generation had different ideas. Modern technology was here and did so much they didn't need to know all these things.
They had the microwave to cook for them so why spend all that time cooking and baking? No need to grow a garden and can vegetables when you can buy frozen from SAMS. and why sew your own clothes when you can buy with credit cards so easily?
My son was the one with the love of cooking and baking and he would whip things up for me but neither of my girls had any interest for a long time. Gradually they started asking me for recipes or they would call and ask how to make something. Yesterday my oldest daughter called and asked my how to make something for the first time and it made me feel a special bond. That Mother/Daughter thing. They still don't crochet, sew or grew a garden and can vegetables but this is a start. One step at a time.


The Dreyer Family said...

You made my eyes well up with tears remember all of the things Mom used to do. I miss the old Mom but I am very glad to have her in my life still even though she has changed a little.

Carrin said...

The potatoes turned out great. They were a big hit!