Thursday, October 29, 2009


Washday!! I was married in 1949 in the days before automatic washers and dryers - although there may have been some then but so expensive they were out of reach for a lot of couples. So this is the washing machine (not the exact one but one like) I and millions of other women used. It was a big step up from the washboard or washing clothes in the river on stones but it was still labor intensive and an absolute all day chore. I don't think anyone liked laundry very much. Monday was washday.
This is the set up that was used - the washer and two laundry tubs. The wringer was on a swivel thingey that you could move from over the washer to over the first tub, then on to the next. You ran the clothes through the wringer into the first rinse tub. Then into the second, and on to the clothes basket. The very first step was sorting the laundry - white and lights, colors and darks. They were on piles on the floor. By the time the laundry was done, both rinse tubs were pretty soapy but no one seemed to be bothered by that and clothes were fresh and clean.
See the words "push to release" =that was what you hit if something got tangled around the rollers - or if you ever were so really unfortunate to get your hand caught! I never did that but I know a woman who had that happen. Dangerous being a housefrau back then! The next step was getting rid of the water if you weren't in a basement with a drain. In one little house I did the laundry on the enclosed backporch. I simply hooked the hose to the faucet on the side of the machine, put the hose out the door onto our driveway which was slanted, and ran the wash water down the driveway. Gone! Some folks used it to water gardens.

Another chore had to be done and that was starching the clothes. We always used Linit which you mixed up, dipped the clothes in, wrung them out and then hung them to dry. (Doesn't this sound like fun?)
Pressing on, all the clothes had to be dried. On a lovely sunny day (and on many days not so sunny or lovely) you hung your clothes on the lines in your yard. Some folks had permanent ones, others put up the clotheslines between trees and from the house to the trees. There were also clothes props to hold the lines up to keep the sheets and longer articles from dragging on the ground. I will say this about the "old days" there is nothing to compare to the smell of sheets dried outside on a cool day. Such a wonderful smell to fall to sleep to. We don't have that anymore. In the winter, if you had a basement you had lines down there. If not, you dried them wherever you could.
On with the rest of the laundry. When the clothes and towels, etc., dry, they have to be either folded and put away or readied for ironing.

Here is the next step - see the little metal thing on a cork in the top of the bottle? You bought those at the dime store and put them in the bottle of your choice and presto - a sprinkling bottle! It was now your task to sprinkle the clothes, roll them up, put them in an oilcloth lined bushel basket and it was time to IRON and IRON and IRON!! That would take lots of hours cause there was a lot of starched stuff - shirts, dresses, overalls, etc. That was what Tuesday was for. I have not even mentioned pants hangers which you put into work pants, stretching them taut and you didn't have to iron or crease the legs. But you still had to give the tops some ironing. All this is making me tired just thinking about it. I did want to mention if you could not get to your ironing right away, you had to keep it in the refrigerator to keep it from getting mildew.
Here is the Happy Little Fifties Housewife doing her ironing (that is not me but I am sure I felt that way many times!)
I finally got an automatic washer and dryer - after both of my little babies were out of diapers. I think what is neat is that you do what you have to do, don't think about it and enjoy your life no matter what. Nowadays everyone has all the time saving devices and still no time! We just need to slow down and enjoy the ride.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Siblings and Me

Seems the the majority of the very small amount of pictures that exist of Carol, Jo and Bud were taken at our grandparents home. There are more of me as a baby and toddler than there are of Jo and Bud but that is probably because the first born usually got the most attention. It's a shame there are not more, but I do appreicate the ones that we have. Here are Carol and Jo all dressed up for cooler weather. Cute striped stockings! Jo was such a cute little girl and was looking sweet in her tam. My hat was pretty cute, too. Big and little sis.
And there is Bud with Grandma Pearce while Jo and I watch in the background. Grandma, as usual, was pretty well all dressed up, too.

I just put this in since I saw that I was wearing the same dress under my coat that I wore in the first picture. When this was taken, there was also one taken of Jo that was so cute - she was wearing a snowsuit and matching hat. How I wish I had a copy of that picture. (Click to enlarge)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Two Old Houses and the Wassonia

Here is another picture of my grandparents home in Peoria at 319 Behrends Avenue. I am almost certain that the five children on the front porch are the Pearce siblings. Harry "Ham" would be the little fellow on the left by the rocking chair. Sitting in front of the door is Leah. Nell and Nan, my mom, sit on a bench with Edwin between them. Good shot of the house as it was then - the "coping" showing up really well. The barn like building to the right would be the big old garage or carriage house belonging to the house across the alleyway. There was a similar large building out back of Pearces' home. An alley ran along behind Behrends Avenue, also.
This was in some of the pictures from my brother and I don't know whose house it was, but I do know I would not mind having a cute little house like that. Do not know the people who live there, either, but they certainly look like nice folks. Don't you love the boys hats and tie? The shutters on these windows actually have a purpose, it seems. Sweet little place.

This is the Wassonia - a hotel along the river in Rome, Illinois, that was just north of my grandparents' cottage, the Sionilli. When Ray and I moved back to Chillicothe (it was actually to Rome but our address was Chillicothe) in 1984, you could have driven out of the driveway of the Wassonia, turned left, crossed the old "hardroad", continued on and crossed the new "hardroad", gone about a block and a half and our house was the last on the right as you got to a point where you either turned right or left. It was no longer the Wassonia, but a restaurant called Mariner's Point. (Click to enlarge)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Be It Ever So Humble

I actually did a post in my Funoldhag blog sometime back using these same pictures. However, I thought it was a good post to do here, also, so if you have read it or something similar to it, just scroll on down to a previous post. This is the house in Rome, Illinois. that we moved into in the fall of 1935 when I was in the second grade. My parents, like so many people, were in debt from the depression and, after unsucessfully living with my grandparents for a time, moved into this house where they paid $10 per month rent which my father worked off by taking care of the yards of cottages owned by the owners of our house. He kept meticulous records of his time on a calendar and woe be unto any of the three kiddies who would take his pencil to use. That was strictly off limits.

This was taken in 1943 when the Illinois River flooded at which time Chicago let some of it's sewage come down river which really messed up the fishing for a long time. It also killed all the lilac bushes that were under water. There was a one room cellar with a dirt floor under part of the house which was only used for jars of veggies and fruit that mom canned. The night the cellar filled up you could hear the empty fruit jars gurgle as they filled. It never got over the floors, however. Everyone had to take typhoid shots since all the wells were under water. I was a freshman in high school when this happened.

Here is a picture of my dad's canna bed. He loved flowers and had a beautiful, very large garden. You can actually see the many rows of gladiolas he planted each year. We had all kinds of veggies and even peanuts. In the back of this picture you can see our outhouse which is right by the coalshed. The only time I ever got to take a bath in a real tub was at my grandparents house. How I loved that - but grandma used Kirk's Hardwater Castile Soap and it made you itch and feel all prickly.

This was much later and shows that the house wasn't looking bad at all after a nice paint job and roses on the fence. This gocart did not belong to my brother but he certainly is looking happy sitting in it. It does look like a great rig. He told me who it belonged to, but I have forgotten and you would not know the person anyway!
This simple way of life was a good way of life in spite of no bathroom or telephone. We were loved, had plenty to eat and I remember my childhood fondly. I think it does make you appreciate things you get so much more if you have to wait for them a little while. Most of the kids at that time had to make their own fun and use their imagination. There should be a little more of that today. (Click to enlarge)

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Rythym Band of Rome Grade School

This is the little Rythym Band from many years ago in the little one room school at Rome, Illinois. I can't remember where or when they performed but I just love this picture. The cute little fellow on the right in the front row is my brother, Bud. I can also remember the names of almost all of the other little kids except for two of the little girls. Just a guess, but I think the little band members were in the second or third grade when this was taken. The little fellow in the middle of the front row who appears to be the bandleader is Dicky Szidon, I am pretty sure. So, so many years ago. (Click to enlarge)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Same Picnic

I ran across these pictures that were taken the same day as the photo in the previous post. In the first one, grandma Maggie has Jo sitting on the spare tire of probably what was the Pearce automoble. In the bottom picture, Jo and Carol are with grandpa Dan on the day of the picnic. I can still vividly remember my grandparents' house and yard. Upon looking closely at the picture, I appears that I may have a bandage on my thumb. Poor little girl!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Little Sisters

Here is a picture of Jo and I at a picnic long, long ago. I love the overalls and bandana neckerchiefs. Joey was probably only about 18 months or so - it was probably near the time my brother was born. They were only 19 months apart in age. She always said that she could remember something about that picnic - that no one remembered to bring paper plates and that our grandpa, who was a salesman for Thomas & Clark, who sold cookies and crackers, got some cardboard boxes and used them for the food. I don't remember that at all but she always insisted she did. This picture is tinted with oils - there was no color photography back in the old days! (Click to enlarge)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nan and Charlie and Family

Another long ago picture - 1952 - with Nan and Charlie and their three children. Jo is on the left, Carol on the right, and Uncle Bud holding Sherry, the first grandchild, next to our mom. This was taken in the little house we lived in right across the road from the Illinois River. It had been a summer cottage at one time. There was a glassed in porch all along the front of it and what a great place to sit and watch the boats go up and down the river. Living by the water is wonderful - wish I had a lake right by my house now! A fireplace in the living room had one end of the mantle cut off - I think someone at one time had put in a partition to make a small bedroom and then later it was taken out. (Click to enlarge)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Some Little Shoes

I was looking through some blogs this morning and came upon one with a picture of some little old baby shoes. Aha, I have some darling little shoes that belonged to my husband when he was a baby and that was 83 years ago. His mom saved so many things and I am so glad. Don't you think they are just wonderful? Scuffed, dirty, and adorable. There is only one of the little two color shoe. Buttons, isn't that unbelievable - a far cry from velcro. Here is Ray, the cute little fellow in his pretty dress and the one who scuffed up his shoes and got them all dirty. Bless his heart!
(Click to enlarge)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Meet My Kid Brother and His Family

This is my brother, Bud (he will always be Bud to me - everyone else calls him Chuck), his wife, Dot, and their son Mike. This would have been taken sometime in the late fifties or early sixties. He had a cottage by the river after he got out of the Air Force. I can't remember if that is where they lived after they were married. Ray and I had moved to Iowa before he got out of the service so I am sketchy on the timing of everything. Bud also has a keen interest in the old family pictures and we have shared pictures back and forth. Our cousin, Ken, in California has been a very big help in gathering family memorabilia. Cute couple, don't you think? Mike is pretty darned cute, too!

Here is a very nice picture (which I have made antique instead of color) of the shoreline of the Illinois River which my brother sent me along with a lot of the pictures. This one makes me want to "look for pretty rocks and Indian beads" like I used to do when I was a little girl. We used to play on the riverbank a lot. One fun thing was to turn big rocks over and find leaches. There were lots and lots of pretty shells - snails, clams, etc. Great place to spend an afternoon. I think we had much more freedom as children back then than the youngsters have now. No one locked their doors and there was not the fear that is so prevalent today. In the summertime, we were outside all the time! (Click to enlarge)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Baby Buggies

As I look through the files of pictures on my computer, I see there are members of my family and Ray's, also, that are posing with little babies in their buggies. The buggies are a far cry from those that are being used today. Wicker was used and the hood could be turned to the other side to shield baby from the sun. All had the large spoked wheels.

In this first picture, we find Nelle with most likely her eldest son, Ken, out for a stroll on a lovely day in San Francisco. As usual, Nelle is dressed fashionably and maybe I should have saved this for a Fashion Friday on Funoldhag. However, being with the other buggies won out.

This picture is from Ray's family. It is a rare photo of Ray's father, Harry, with his little son in his baby buggy. Harry tips the buggy so you can see his little boy.

This one is on my other blog and shows my cousin, Harry Arthur Pearce, who was called "Happy" or "Hap" all his life, in his big wicker buggy. And I am pushing a buggy with a doll that is almost as big as Hap. The pictures of the Pearce family that extended even through my early childhood indicate that they were living very comfortably with a nice home, cottage, pretty clothes, etc. However, the depression had a huge effect on my grandparents, and my parents never really got their heads above water for years. They never did own a home. I can remember one Christmas when my father actually painted some toys that my brother already had to make them appear new. From this picture, it would certainly seem I was probably showered with wonderful things - and maybe I was at that time - but all that changed. Regardless, as I have said before, when I look back on my childhood it is always with a feeling of being loved, well taken care of and being a happy kid. Again, I digress. Enjoy these old pictures of baby buggies, their little occupants and the doting parents pushing them. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Three Generations of Pearces

In this picture, Edwin George Pearce, the little boy, is shown with his father, Daniel Booth Pearce, and his grandfather, George Washington Pearce. George married Martha Daugherty on February 22, 1865. Isn't that neat? The reason I know that is from papers that my cousin Ken, Nelle's oldest son, sent me over ten years ago when I was working on my book about Ray's and my families. (Click to enlarge)