Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Washing Dishes By Hand

OK, before I get into the real concept behind this vintage photograph, note not only the knives, measuring cups and other kitchenware that's out and accessible hanging above the counter but, on the other side, all the can and bottle openers too.


Proof that back "in the day," cooking utensils were used so often, drawers were not seen as so vital; these items were used (and then washed) so often, they never had time to gather dust or otherwise need protection that left them far removed from where they were used. Why hide them from sight when you'd be using them -- and soon.

However, the first reason I stopped and looked at this photo was the obvious subject matter: the young girl helping her mother, or other woman, doing the dishes.

Not only do I enjoy the nostalgia of this photo, recalling conversations with my mother, sister and, yes, my father, while washing and drying dishes by hand (my spelling was never better than at those times we quizzed one another off school spelling lists!), but this photo captures something that's rather missing from our culture now...

Children once learned about household and other chores by performing them with their parents. Now, between maid and cleaning services -- and parents who perform their housekeeping chores at night after the kids are in bed (mistakenly trading "alone" for "easier") -- many children don't know how the house "magically" gets clean. It's no wonder children feel entitled to avoid such tasks &/or haven't a clue what to do themselves (nor appreciate the work they can't see being done).

Besides learning how to clean, doing chores together fosters an appreciation for and value of the home and of family too.

...Writing all this makes me want to toss out the built-in dishwasher.

Not that we can't quiz one another on spelling or math problems, or foster some "families who work together" spirit while loading and unloading the appliance (continually stepping out of one another's way); but it just takes too little time. Saving time at the cost of what?

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