Writer’s Page – June 2024

Washing Evolution

Barbara Schwartz

My grandparents immigrated to the USA in the early 1900s where they took up residence in Revere, Mass. They bought a house, learned to speak English, and proceeded to have their family of six children.

They grew most of their food in their garden, had chickens, and made a decent life for themselves.

They actually had a “laundry room” of sorts which was merely an alcove off of the kitchen with a wringer washing machine and, since there was no dryer available, they had a pulley clothesline outside the window to dry their clothing.

As their six children grew up, their laundry room evolved to a fancier washer but still had no dryer.

Their children and their spouses evolved to a more modern lifestyle and they all six had no actual laundry room, but kept their machines in the garage. They all had washing machines with some bells and whistles and they all had dryers that had the grand total of two buttons: on and off. These machines were a positive sign of luxury and affluence in the early 1950s.

Now the grandchildren of the original set of parents and the great-grandchildren all have indoor laundry rooms with extravagant washers and dryers; folding space and hanging racks for those items that should be hung up immediately. These tumble dryers allow the clothes to toss around gently while drying to a perfectly wrinkle-free state. But it is only wrinkle-free if you get to the dryer just before the cycle is over. If you leave those lovely wrinkle-free clothes in the machine for more than two minutes, they are a lovely ball of massive and tangled and questionable clothing.

And if you put anything in the dryer that shouldn’t even be there (like wool), it will shrink two sizes by the time you get it out of the dryer.

If only I could figure out a way to stuff myself into the dryer, I could come out two sizes smaller and be wrinkle-free!!

Postcards from Zelda

Sue Donovan

Hiya Alice! Here I am driving to San Diego ready to board the ship for my cruise to Bali. Move over Julia Roberts—I plan to Eat, Pray and Love for two months! Will drop you postcards to make you regret you passed on this big adventure! Have a hot and boring summer! Anticipating excitement, Zelda

Hi Alice—a minor SNAFU. My car blew a tire 10 miles out of San Diego. Bad luck—took out my spare for room to pack my hair dryer. Good luck—rescued by a hunky naval officer on the way to his base. Still hoping to make my ship! Almost in love, Zelda

Alice—Greetings from San Diego. Couldn’t say no to dinner and drinks with Seaman Third Class Melvin. Turns out I can’t tell officers from deck swabbers but cute is cute. Didn’t pack much dough in those tight white bell-bottoms, so I treated instead of washing dishes. Missed the boat, both socially and literally. Just kick me, Zelda

Okay Alice, I’m finally weighing anchor! A week and a half in San Diego put a sizable dent in my adventure money, even though the motel I found by the airport was right under a flight path. Haven’t slept at all. Looking forward to dozing in a deck chair! Exhaustedly yours, Zelda

Alice—No dozing ‘cuz no deck chair. Two hours out of San Diego, the SS Titanic hit a monster tropical storm. You wouldn’t believe the difference between a first-class cabin and this last available and affordable one I’m in! No window, next to the kitchen, bathroom so small I have to leave the door open to bend over the john to puke!! Pots and pans banging day and night. They must eat a lot on this ship—I wouldn’t know. Not hungry, Zelda

Good news Alice! I made it to Bali!! Bad news—the sun is baking but it’s so humid it might as well be pouring rain. Using my hair dryer on clothes and bedding. The brochure forgot to mention that the “darling open-air jungle hut” lacks air of any kind. Upside—going to a native dinner and dance on the beach tonight if I can dry out my costume. Looking native, Zelda

Alice—Sorry I haven’t written lately. Native dinner was tasty, native beverage was POTENT. During the audience participation dance, I slipped on a banana peel and fractured my femur. Turns out, there’s not much urgent care in Bali. Resort flew me all the way to Jakarta for surgery. In their insurance-driven panic, neglected to fly luggage, passport, and hair dryer. Indonesian orthopedists are really good I hear. From other Indonesians. Painfully yours, Zelda

Forgive me, Alice, but can you please wire me a grand? Or so? Gotta fly home ASAP. Large lump where my knee should be. Probably just the screws but still. Also, can you pick me up from the airport? I’ll be the one on crutches, with no luggage, in a grass skirt and coconut bra, arguing with the immigration guy. Lots of nerve, Zelda

Last postcard, Alice. I don’t have enough dough for an international stamp. So consider these postcards your souvenir. Thank heavens you passed on our Bali adventure. Eating was a challenge, though I prayed a lot, and Melvin was hardly a love story! Can’t see ya soon enough, Zelda