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Kvam, Ingerid M. / The Skalet family : ancestors and descendants of Sever and Malla Skalet

Sever and Malla Skalet,   pp. 7-26 PDF (6.5 MB)

Page 17

available by pumping it at the base of the cistern near the house. Then the water was carried
into the house to fill the boiler and the reservoir.
The first washing machine we had was operated by hand. It had a handle which was rocked
back and forth to move the attachment that worked on the clothes in the machine. A hand
wringer was used to wring the soapy water from the garment and into the rinse water. After
rinsing, the clothes were run through the wringer in reverse and placed in a clothes basket
and ready for hanging on the clothesline.
The next washing machine we had was Maytag with a gas motor attached at the base of the
machine. It had an attachment by which the fumes could be forced out through the base of
the kitchen window. In the summer we moved the machine out on the "Tram" (a wooden
platform built from the back door of the kitchen), which in our present age may be called a
deck. There the exhaust from the gas motor was taken care of easily.
Then in 1927, we had our own electricity system called the "Delco" with batteries and
equipment housed in the "Separator House" next to the pump and water tank. This also
provided us with the use of a milking machine, and we had electric lights, and could have a
radio to provide us with music, programs and news.
To go on with the clothes line job, the clothes were then hung on the revolving clothes line
and/or fence to dry. It worked out well in the summer, but in the winter it was not easy. The
clothes would freeze on the line and become as stiff as a board. Before night-fall, we would
bring the clothes into the house and hang them on a rack that fit over the floor register where
heat for the room was supplied by a wood burning furnace.
There were some articles of clothing that would need to ironed. So they were sprinkled
slightly and folded and kept until the next day which would be ironing day. Old fashioned
irons that were heated on the wood cook stove. One iron holder which fit on all the irons,
was used as we changed frequently to keep ironing with a warmed iron.
There was no polyester or easy to wash garments in those days. So washing clothes was a
big job, especially with a family of 9 children, parents and some years, hired men.
Washing clothes on the farm in the old days is only one part of life we remember. But it is a
life like this that brings back to us many memories.
With a family of nine, you can realize that there was plenty of baby sitting at various stages
in our lives. Being one of the oldest in the family, Grant, Jorgen, and I can remember some
aunts coming to help on the farm--Aunt Alma, Aunt Clara, and Aunt Nora. In those days too,
even the hired man would occasionally hold a child so Ma could finish dishing up food for
our meals. The second from the youngest, (about 2 years old) always sat in Pa's lap while
we ate. We never had a high chair.
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