Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Doing Dishes



Domestic Activity Week continues here at OPOD with this picture of a woman doing dishes with her daughter. The picture was taken in 1942. Now most of us have dish washers, but sometimes I wonder how much time they save, given that some people think you need to pretty much wash the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, and then of course the hassle of emptying it. I have noticed that women get mad if you put your plate in the sink instead of putting it in the dishwasher. They also get mad if you put it in the dishwasher if the dishwasher has clean dishes, even if you partition your dirty dishes to one segment of the machine. So, it appears that we men are often left in a no-win situation. Put it in the sink, get in trouble, put it in the dishwasher, get in trouble. The only solution I have found so far is to put the dirty dish in the very bottom of the trash can, and hope no one sees it.

Now Mrs. PJM is a dish washing machine. It doesn't matter where, it doesn't matter when, if there are dirty dishes around, she is going to find them and clean them. Case in point . . . this is a village in a remote area of Eastern Africa. We were not there 5 minutes and and Mrs. PJM found some dishes to do. 


18 comments:

  1. I always thought that you if have a number of guests over (or a largish family), than the washing machine makes sense. But for a couple plus one or two kids, I find it easier to just wash them right away and not allow a pile to form.

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  2. I like my dishwasher especially in the winter when I suffer from very dry, chapped hands. My kids really love the dishwasher. I used to wash up for nine every day.

    We empty the dishwasher out after the load is done, that way folks can put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher instead of the sink. But like many good plans, it only works in theory.

    I like looking at all the stuff in the kitchen. The old mixer, the stove, which looks like wood or coal, and the contents of the shelves- canning jars, cute little boxes or tins and dishes with a pattern very like Pfaltzgraff's Yorktowne or Old Towne Blue.

    The lovely Mrs PJM could come visit at any time, we have plenty of dirty dishes to keep her happy!

    By the way, if my husband put dirty dishes in with the clean ones I wouldn't like it either!

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  3. Or you could empty the dishwasher first.
    If you are like me when I empty ours, I have no idea where somethings go. Or how some things stack to be able to get them all in said space. That is when I just make a pile of clean dishes on the counter above the washer.

    I hand washed and dried dishes until I retired at the age of 66 when we bought a house with a dish washer built in. And the first thing we had to do is replace it with one the would wash dishes instead of rinsing them (another story)

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  4. Or you could empty the dishwasher first.
    If you are like me when I empty ours, I have no idea where somethings go. Or how some things stack to be able to get them all in said space. That is when I just make a pile of clean dishes on the counter above the washer.

    I hand washed and dried dishes until I retired at the age of 66 when we bought a house with a dish washer built in. And the first thing we had to do is replace it with one the would wash dishes instead of rinsing them (another story)

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  5. Or you could empty the dishwasher first.
    If you are like me when I empty ours, I have no idea where somethings go. Or how some things stack to be able to get them all in said space. That is when I just make a pile of clean dishes on the counter above the washer.

    I hand washed and dried dishes until I retired at the age of 66 when we bought a house with a dish washer built in. And the first thing we had to do is replace it with one the would wash dishes instead of rinsing them (another story)

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  6. Will you look at that.
    It kept saying I made an error in entering the Verifi word.
    But then it must have deceided I didn't and gave me all 3 of the posts

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  7. I was once in a home occupied by a single male engineer. He had removed some cabinets and installed a second dishwashing machine next to the first. That way, the just moved his dirty dishes from one machine to the other and never put anything away. I thought it was genius, but my wife didn't agree. I still can't figure out why not.

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  8. Nate,
    Brilliant!!!! Perhaps the smartest thing I have ever heard.
    PJM

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  9. Yes I agree with you and Nate. 2 dishwashers -genius!

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  10. When I was around 11 or 12 years old, my mom asked me which I'd rather do, wash the breakfast dishes or iron the cloths. Not thinking, I said iron the clothes. Of course, she was through with the dishes long before I was through with the clothes. And that was my Saturday morning job after that.
    In ironing, there was the starched clothes and the rough dried. The rough dried were the handkerchiefs, jeans, and play clothes. No steam irons then.
    In dish washing, you had to heat the water. There were 2 dishpans, one for washing and one for draining. Then you had to pour a kettle of boiling water over the dishes and dry them.
    I hated washing dishes.

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  11. I had 1 dishwasher about 20 years ago when we bought a new house. It lasted a couple of years, then died, never got the dishes too clean, always left this weird coating texture on the glasses. When we bought the house the builder cheaped out on the appliances. After rinsing the dishes and loading the dishwasher I didn't see much of a time saver versus doing them by hand. My wife may disagree with me but we are so used to doing them by hand we don't even miss a dishwasher. We are very speedy too, dishes done in no time. When we do the dishes together I get to splash her too.

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  12. Also, I have the same picture that PJM posted. Instead of 1942 it's my wife and daughter doing the dishes together in 2002.

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  13. My husband is very good about emptying the dishwasher and putting things away in the proper places. The only things that stymies him are the pots and pans, so he just leaves them on the counter. I can live with that.

    I think there ought to be support groups for women who wash their dishes before they put them in the machine. It gets a lot hotter and a violent in there than you can manage in the sink.

    My mom HATED the idea of air-drying dishes. Once she left my sister and me a list of chores to do, including the dishes, while she went to the store. We washed them and left them to dry, but raced into the kitchen as soon as we saw her car pul into the drive. Unfortunately we didn't sling those dishes fast enough, and she walked over to the sink, ran herself a glass of water, drank two sips, and them "rinsed" the glass five or six times, pouring the water over the dry dishes.

    She also tried to convince us they dried shinier with the soap on them!

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  14. even more inspiring than the dishwashers or lack there of . . . is the fact that these two females are wearing socks. Anklets! in fact. with a skirt. We sure don't see that anymore!

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  15. Nate
    Yours is a great suggestion. I foolishly suggested to my wife (who hates a dirty or maybe dirty dish) that I would consider placing two machines together if it would make her happy. She didn't even think a second before she asked: "And just where in the H... would I put the things that are in the cabnet you remove". To which I replied before enough thought, "well, I bet there are a number of things we could get rid of in there."

    I don't remember much of the next hour except a loud screeching niose that set all the dogs in the neighborhood to howling. For some reason we skipped dinner but since she wasn't talking to me then, I will probably never know, because I sure will never ask again.

    You will understand a little exageration in the above story. My wife is a sweet dear that wouldn't hurt a fly.....that's wrong, she kills them everytime she can. I'm getting pretty hungry here.......

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  16. Nance ~ No, you don't see women wearing anklets with skirts these days. In the early 90's there was a short lived fad of wearing ankle socks with the lacy trim on them with high heels and short skirts. But that was just a fashion thing, and very much for the younger girls!
    This particular case was out of necessity. Silk stockings left the scene early in WWII, since silk came primarily out of Japan, and nylon stockings shortly after the silk, because the material was needed for the war effort. Parachutes were a big user of silk fabric, followed by the nylon, along with other items, such as powder bags for ammunition. Nylon stockings were completely off the market I think in 1942 or early '43.
    It was considered patriotic to adjust one's wardrobe accordingly. While ankle sox weren't considered especially attractive, they were inexpensive, lasted longer than stockings, and were seen as patriotic, since the wearer had obviously given up stockings "for the duration." Donating your used, clean stockings to the cause early in the war was quite popular as well. Many women used various forms of leg makeup, drawing the seams on with eyebrow pencil to simulate the stocking style of the day. Cosmetic manufacturers of the time found a whole new market in leg makeup during the war. Most women had maybe one or two good pair of stockings saved back for very special occasions, and treated them with extreme care.
    It took a couple of years following the end of the war in 1945 for manufacturers to catch up the supply with the demand for nylon stockings, and for a while, even with mail order catalogs, women were limited to one or two pair to purchase at a time.
    What I find even more intriguing about her wardrobe in this picture is her pair of high heeled saddle shoes! Saddle shoes were popular for very casual wear, working around the house, or, since they were all leather and covered the foot well, as well as being comfortable, were commonly worn as work shoes in war plants.
    Saddle shoes had been around since the 20's for active sports and even dress wear for men, depending on the way they were constructed, and the color combinations, and women soon adopted them as well in the 20's during the time they were also adopting their own personal freedoms, especially in athletic activities. They remained popular and available for all ages through the 60's and 70's, and even longer for activities such as cheerleading, since they could be had in numerous color combinations to match school colors. Athletic shoes replaced them in the 80's, and for a while could be had in special color combinations, and all white only through special order through athletic shoe stores. (I know, because I wanted all white ones for my job in the early 80's but couldn't buy them off the shelf anywhere. They had to be special order, and were quite expensive!)
    Even so, the high heeled version wasn't quite as common as the lower heeled kind. But for grown women, who were accustomed to working in shoes with some lift to the heel, which was more comfortable and supportive than flat shoes, this higher heel was most likely more comfortable for housework than the lower heel version. I found a vintage catalog advertisement for this style of saddle shoe dating from 1938.

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  17. Myrtle ~ You're right about the kitchen stove being coal. This one was quite versatile, as it not only cooked the meals, but also supplied the heat and I think the hot water for the small four room apartment in which it was installed. There were two bedrooms, the eat-in kitchen, a living room and a bathroom.
    This and several others of a series taken of this small family are on another site called Shorpy, and a lot of background information about the housing and this family is there as well. These were defense housing, four room apartments, built as two unit, single story doubles in a small Connecticut town, where there was a small defense plant that made seats for airplanes. The husband worked there, and the family got this apartment so he could eliminate the driving he had formerly been doing from their small two-room apartment in a nearby city. The plant was in walking distance from this housing. With gas rationing in place, and tires as well (the real reason behind gas rationing - the lack of sources of rubber, not oil) they tried to get their workers as close as possible. The wife said this was the first real kitchen she had had since they married, and likely many of the items seen in this picture were wedding gifts she had never had space or reason to put out before!

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