Tuesday, July 24, 2012

MORE BRONX NOSTALGIA

I was born in 1946 and we lived in the Bronx, NY.  Doing laundry was a daily chore.   

This washing machine is similar to the one we had in our kitchen.  Mom says that she doesn't remember it but I do.


After the wash was clean, there began the process of drying.  If the weather was nice, mom hung the laundry out on the roof.  There were clothes lines already set up.


Mom would then get the pieces that had to be ironed, sprinkle them with a little water and roll them up and put them in the refrigerator.  This made for easier ironing, especially getting out the wrinkles.



If the weather was rainy we had an indoor drying rack that mom set up in the bathtub. I also remember something pulling out of the wall on top of the shower faucet but could not find any photos.  There were always silk stockings hanging off of the shower curtain rail.


Another memory attached to laundry was the Chinese laundry that was about a city block away.
In New York, perhaps seven out of ten Chinese survived by working in Chinese Hand Laundries. At the end of almost every residential block or alley, there was always a Chinese laundry. A Chinese laundry was usually small - about the size of five dining tables, equipped only with an ironing board and a shelf to put cleaned, ironed clothes that were packaged and ready to go. 


Mom would have my Dad's work shirts done here. They always did a beautiful job.





Suffice it to say the chore of laundry was daily and daunting.  In today's world, it is has been made so much easier although still daunting.

15 comments:

Rebecca Tomb said...

And I thought that doing laundry today was bad! Thanks for sharing, I always love to hear about a little history.

AnnMarie aka Vintage Junkie aka NaNa said...

My husband could probably relate to this having grown up in Harlem in the 60's...not that he did any laundry! Very interesting post!

Kelly Bermudez said...

Fun and interesting story! I love hearing about the good old days! I wish my grandma was still here to share those stories with us:))

Loretta - Thoughtful Gems said...

Great pictures! They really help tell the story. Thanks for sharing.

Luella Newkirk said...

My aunt had a washer just like that in her basement! We lived in the country and dried ours on a clothesline outside (can still smell the sweetness of sheets dried this way) or a dryer just like the one you pictured here. I never knew that about Chinese laundry. Thanks for a delightful retrospect on laundry.

Sue Runyon said...

Great walk down memory lane, Sue. Fun read.

Kim said...

Sue, I loved this blog post!! Laundry is one of my least favorite chores but I will never complain about it again . . .lol I love hearing about how things "used to be" You are about the same age as my mom and she told me as a young girl she always got stuck with the messy task of ironing with those old irons. Never knew about putting the clothes in the fridge though. Very interesting!

Aloquin said...

Wow, I will never again complain about having to go to the laundry mat again! It just happens to be my least favorite chore... thankfully, it's only up the road :)

I love your pics, Sue.

N. said...

What a fun look at life. Love the pictures!
Noelle

bananaorangeapple said...

I love doing the washing.
I always say my house looks like a Chinese laundry, since it often takes a long time to put it all away. Of course I have never seen one, not even a photo, so this has been really interesting!

Mechelle said...

Sue my mom showed me many years ago, how to put shirts in the refrigirator for a little while. I had a linen shirt that I could not get the wrinkles out. Putting the shirt in the refrigirator does work!

ZudaGay said...

We had this sprinkler head that Mama had in a Pepsi bottle that we sprinkled the clothes with to get them ready to iron. In the summer sometimes we put them in the fridge so they would stay wet and not mildew before they could get ironed. Ironing in the summer was very hot work! I love clothes drying on a line. :)

sammysgrammy said...

Fun looking back. great post.

*~Niki~* said...

Sue I loved hearing about your childhood memories. I'm glad washing is so much easier now. Blessings Niki x

Carole said...

What a great story. I'm lucky that hubby does the laundry since I no longer go in the basement. His territory. WOrks out fine for me.

thanks for stopping by the other day. I love your blog.

x
Carole