John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
Do you remember hanging out clothing that has just been washed on the clothes line with clothespins. The wet wash was difficult to hang because it was heavy. You had to prop up the clothesline to keep the wash from hitting the ground. If it was windy outside, the wash dried fast. One danger you had with the clothes on the line was bird poop. The children were told not to play near the clothes. Any dust from the wind could dirty your newly washed clothes. Hauling the newly washed clothing out of the basement was a chore. Cleaning up the laundry room was not easy. You learned respect for mothers doing the wash.
When clothes dryers came out, it was a needed thing for mothers. Washing machines no longer needed wringers to drain water from the clothing. This was one of the best labor saving devices ever invented.
At one time you had to used a washboard to scub clothes. You added bleach and blue to whiten the light clothes. If you added too much bleach, your dark clothes would become lighter and streaky. Keeping white shirts and sheets white was a difficult task. A woman washing diapers had a very difficult job of bleaching them. We take for granted what was once very difficult for all people years ago. Would you like to return to the past and wash your clothes on a scub board without electricity, and to rinse and wring out by hand all of your clothes that you washed? Would you like to hang outside your newly washed clothes on a clothesline? Would you like to empty out your dirty clothes bucket after washing and rinsing your wash?
Forget to pay you electric bill and you could be forced to do this work again.