Spring Cleaning Is Easier Today
By Paula Mitchell
The topic for this week’s writing is “Spring Cleaning.”
Back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, families kept their log cabins and homes locked up tight during the winter to keep out the elements. Homes were heated primarily with wood stoves, fireplaces and potbelly ovens. Oil lamps and candles chased shadows from the corners of every room, providing light for the long nights of winter. The women opened their windows and doors to air out the house. Airing out the rooms was part of what has become known throughout the community as good ol’ spring cleaning.
The spring air was fresh and clean, and it blew away the wafts of smoke and built-up smells from cooking and living. Then came the task of getting the soot out of the linens and out of the nooks and crannies into which it had settled during the long winter.
The undertaking often lasted as long as three weeks. All the drawers and closets were emptied and aired out or washed. Every piece of woodwork had to be scrubbed to get the lingering soot out. Rugs were lifted and taken outdoors to be beaten with a switch until the last bit of dust left. Stovepipes had to be disassembled and cleaned. Bedding was removed and washed with special attention paid to lice and other creatures that sought a warm place in the cold winter months. The wooden bed frames also had to be wiped clean.
It was up to the women to get the house in order, in addition to their rigorous work of farming and cooking for the family. Meanwhile, the mountain women took to their brooms and pots of heated water to clean the house.
Detergent and commercial soap production didn’t begin in the United States until the 1930s and really didn’t make it into most homes until after World War II. At the same time, few homes had indoor plumbing. By 1960, only about 61 percent of Appalachian homes had inside running water.
Women and children had to carry water from the well, sometimes two or three times a day. Women added baking soda and vinegar to the water. Lemons improved the smell. What soap they had was made primarily from lye and animal fat.
Sweeping and airing out took care of the dust and lingering odors. The vinegar and lemon cut through the grease and smoky smell from the oil lamps. The darkened colors left by the wood-burning stoves ended up baked into the walls and furniture.
Modern spring cleaning is certainly not this laborious. Thank goodness!
Life’s instructions include the following:
- Put a surprise note in a neighbor’s mailbox giving them an uplifting thought.
- Pick up the phone and let someone know one is thinking of them.
- Clean out the closet and donate clothes.
- Thank the UPS/Fed Ex and mail delivery persons.
- Enjoy the fresh morning dew.
The colors in this part of the world are so vivid with the generosity of green shades. In these mountains, one could certainly feel embraced and protected. The mornings are glorious with birdsong chirpings. Summery flowers are being planted and hung, allowing balm for the soul.
Something interesting is going on in this community. It appears that a neighbor notices that the lawn is getting too long, so decides to start up the lawn mower, with the hum being heard all over the community. The “call” is heard and everyone jumps on their mower, to make meticulous lawn cuttings, which are very pleasing to the eye.
Mother’s Day was a special time for mothers. Folks visited, called, sent flowers, and gave mom a break by taking her out for dinner. The family fabric seems to be intact in this community.
This week’s quotes are as follows:
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — Picasso
“Do everything with a good heart and expect nothing in return and you will never be disappointed.” — Barbara Lowe
“Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and a body ain’t got no business doing wrong when he ain’t ignorant and knows better.” — Huckleberry Finn
“They can conquer who believe they can.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Hardship makes character.” — Unknown
It is best to sit on the front steps to hear the “Talk of the Grove.”
Ben, Emma, and Nathan Puffenbarger spent Saturday night with grandparents, Robert and Nancy Hodges of Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Benny and Linda Custer and Judy Rader visited Friday with Jimmy and Robyn Reed in Culpepper, Virginia.
Terri Grogg, Claude Castleberry and Marleta and Junior Wimer were visiting with Rosalee Grogg.
Willard Rader turned 90 years old this past week. He is older and wiser. Congratulations, Willard!
Bob and Brenda Fisher attended worship services Sunday with Robby, Linnea and family. They enjoyed the Mother’s Day luncheon following the service.
Clickety-clacks for the chin waggers for this week are as follows:
- In 1938, Australian golfer Stanley Gard played 250 holes in one day.
- The pygmy Marmoset monkey can sit comfortably in a spoon.
- The first baseball gloves were flesh colored to be less conspicuous.
- The tulip had its beginnings in Asia Minor, and got its name from the Turkish word for turban.
- The Sahara Desert is larger in area then the 48 continental United States.
Concerns for this week are many, and they are as follows: Charles Anderson, Roger and Joan Ashley, Mercedes Aumann, Vernon “Fuzzy” Baldwin, Lynn Beatty, Debbie Beal, Jed Conrad, Jeff Craig, Mary Eye, Donna Fleisher, Lola Graham, Jordan Greathouse, Marvin Hartman, Steve and Armanda Heavner, Gary and Jackie Hills, Virgil Homan, Jr., Myrtle Hoover, Debbie Horst, the Peggy Huffer family, Mike Jamison, Alice Johnson, Richard Judy, Danny Kimble, Dennis Kincaid, Kim Kline, Idelta Lambert, Melissa Lambert, Robert Lambert, Rex Landis, Angela Lung, Linda Malcolm, Betty Mallow, Roger and Skip Mallow, Neil McLaughlin, the Gary Mitchell family, Barbara Moats, Melvin Moats, Aaron Nelson, Ruth Nelson, Don Nilsen, Cheryl Paine, Barbara Parker, Sutton Parrack, Shirley Pratt, Alda Propst, Kathy Propst, Linda Propst, Sheldon Propst, K.D. Puffenbarger, Mary and Eldon Puffenbarger, Dick Rexrode, Harley Propst, Jason Rexrode, Jimmy Rexrode, Pam Rexrode, the Tim Rodgers family, Max Rodriguez, Donna Ruddle, John Ruddle, Annie Simmons, Barry and Phyllis Simmons, Davey Simmons, Robbie Sites, Ona Smith, Rosa Tichenor, Sandra Vandevander, Amy Vaus, Judy Williams and Margaret Wimer.