LastUpdated: 13 March 2001
"Getting Ready For Easter"
Lillian Hein Remmick
All rights are reserved. This story, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission. Published by Remick-Hubert Corp.221 Main Streeet, Suite 1300, San Francisco, California, 94105
|The other day I put my washer on gentle cycle, tossed in cold water
soap, and added my sheer curtains.
When the washer buzzed to let me know the cycles were complete I placed them in my dryer on gentle cycle and tossed in a sheet of fabric softener so as to remove static and perfume them.
When the buzzer told me they were dry I put water in my steam iron, plugged it in, set the dial on low heat and gave them a quick touch-up.
While shirring the curtains onto the rods I began to remember the things my Mother used to do to have nice curtains.
Spring time was house cleaning time and it was crucial that everything be sparkling by Easter.
After the walls, floors, and windows were clean and the linoleum had their usual coat of varnish it was curtain time.
The lace curtains were taken out and shook to remove excess dust. Meanwhile, in the summer kitchen the old range was plied with wood and coal. When the fire was roaring we'd place the large copper boiler on the stove and fill it with rain or snow water from barrels outside. We carried in the water with buckets that we dipped into those large barrels. We were very careful not to stir the sediments from the bottom of the barrels.
When the wash-boiler was properly filled, we would set up three laundry tubs, two for rinsing and one for washing. Then we filled the two tubs used for rinsing with more water from the barrels. Into the last rinse tub Mother put laundry blueing to enhance the whiteness of the curtains.
Now, Mother would shave the homemade laundry soap into a kettle of hot water to dissolve it..
Then came a very special chore in which Mother would pour laundry starch (which came in small dry pieces) into a large bowl and add just enough cold water to dissolve the pieces and then she would pour in boiling water all the while stirring vigorously until the starch was thin and clear.
Now, from the copper boiler Mother would take hot water and add the dissolved soap. Curtain after curtain were put into this soap solution and after soaking a bit be gently washed by pulling through the suds and squeezing gently. Then they went through the same process in each rise tub.
Last but not least they were placed panel by panel into the starch and gently squeezed to remove excess starch.
Then the curtains were carefully hung on wash lines in the yard so as not to cause any sags.
This was usually a beautiful spring day with gentle breezes blowing.
When the curtains were dry we removed them with great care as they were usually stiff as boards.
On the kitchen table Mother would carefully sprinkle each panel with water just enough for perfect ironing and then fold them and roll them rightly and placed them in the laundry basket lines with a sheet folded in four.
The next day and after regular chores were finished, Mother would build a hot fire in the kitchen range and place her three flat irons on to the heat. Next she would place several layers of sheets on the kitchen table and when the irons were very hot she began to iron.
"...Mother would build a hot fire in the kitchen range and place her three flat irons on to the heat."
Now, the biggest chore began, Mother would iron and pull, iron and pull, until those panels were perfect. Whenever the iron cooled she would replace it with a hot one.
After hours of ironing the curtains were shirred onto the rods and placed over the window.
Mother would stand back and inspect. There were no crooked hems allowed.
Sometimes Father would tease her and tell her he liked windows without curtains best because he could see out better.
The house was ready for Easter and it smelled so good and clean.
Mother was a very proud homemaker.
As a child I loved the scent of spring and I can still see those lovely lace curtains gently blowing in the breeze on those windows.
MT Home Site