Monday, February 12


I read Finn's post about molasses with amusement.
She asks us to blog about things past- things that have now, perhaps, gone out of use, & perhaps even out of most people's memories.

I have been trying to think of things from when I was very young. One of the things that stands out in my mind, is Buggy Lamps.
Though I dont remember them actually being used, our Grandmother had some, which she had kept from her days of driving a buggy. They used to live in the shed next to the old Chook House. We have no idea what ever became of them.

There were boxes of old magazines my mother had kept, & all sorts of wonderful old & intersting things. I used to love to go through the old magazines, & read the stories, & look at the fashions, & patterns for clothes. There were some old Soup Tureens, complete with lids, & huge ladles. All wrapped in newpapers, which could be interesting to read too. I loved the old smell of it all, & it didnt seem musty, so I guess the shed was well dry. I think my uncle & Grandfather built it soon after my grandparents moved into their house.

And my Grandmother's lovely old Button Tin, which was covered in string, made by one of my uncles as a school project. I suppose it was macrame. There were old shoe buttons & a button hook, which always fascinated me. It used to be a rainy day treat, to be allowed to empty the Button tin, & look at all the old & interesting buttons.

And something you never seem to see now, were hot water cupboards. These would house the hot water cylinder, & were wonderful for airing the clothes, & making sure they were not damp. My Grandmother used to store all her linen in the Hot Water Cupboard, which was sometimes known as the Cylinder Cupboard. And if she was making bread or something with yeast in it, into the cupboard it went, to rise in the warm air.

When we moved over here to Australia to live, we were surprised to find most houses didnt have Cylinder Cupboards- the hot water cylinders stood outside or under the house. Our old Cylinder had sacking lagging on all the pipes, so the heat would not escape while the water was being run.

And we had a big Water tank, & I suppose our water was rainwater, because the big tank stood on a huge Tank Stand, & we were forbidden to climb onto the tank stand. I remember once my brother climbed up to retrieve a ball or kite, & his hair all stood on end, as he was just about touching the electricity wires, which ran from the house to our Uncle's bach.

Another thing I always disliked, but they were commonplace in those days, was the copper. I remember my mother lighting the fire under it, to boil the clothes, & make the whites white! And there were two concrete tubs, to rinse the clothes in, after they had been boiled. A lot of things got hand washed, because with the coming of the 'modern' synthetic fabrics, coppers & boiling water did them no favours! They could easily end up cooked, shrivelled little things..ruined forever.

When BFJ & I went apple picking it fell to her to light the copper fire. I could never manage to get it going. But it ruined a few of our clothes, & some items never recovered! We soon learnt that black jeans are not good with pillowslips.

But then my mother got a washing machine, & what a difference it made to her life. And the old hand wringer was consigned to the shed, along with the washing board, which had been made of corrugated glass.

Then the old copper was used to store bottles of beer, kept for when my Uncles came to stay. And my brother & I occasionally sneaked one, & drank it behind the chook shed. And pretended it was delicious, .... but really? not nice at all!

We are having rain here today, & had showers last night. I hope it is going where it is really needed! Which is a bit silly, - it is needed everywhere.

And Congratulations B & A for your new Grandson!!


caramaena said...

Ah you've reminded me of my grandmother's button tin. I'd forgotten all about it.

We used to drive out to her house every sunday for a roast lunch. Then my sisters and I would build elaborate 'towns' with all the buttons.

btw - I'm glad you changed your template. Something about the last one made it take forever to load (if it loaded at all). This one loads in a snap for me though.

Alice said...

Gosh, Meggie, did you live at the same house as me? I guess since we're the same vintage and both lived on farms, then there are bound to be many similarities in lives. So many in fact, that I think I'll do a posting on that subject too.

However, I must refer to your mother's 'button tin'. Often if we were sick in bed with a cold or some such, Mum would let us play with a large collection of beads that she had. They were all from broken necklaces, etc. and they were all beautiful glass ones. Can you imagine their value today?

Yes, I remember the copper, the corrugated washing board, the manual wringer and the concrete troughs, the bluebag, the liquid starch, the prop clotheslines and the flat irons off the wood stove for the ironing after damping down the clothes.

Tracey Petersen said...

Just yesterday I was hand dying fabrics...rinsing and wringing them to remove the excess dye, and I bemoaned the lack of a wringer. I would love to get my hands on one to help out with hand dying. How funny I should come here to find you discussing them!

Liz said...

We're so spoiled by our modern conveniences. I think I'd give up all together if I had to wash clothes that way! The button tin did sound fun too -- my mom has a button jar that I can remember emptying and enjoying a nice search through all the colorful circles.

joyce said...

When I was growing up water was a problem. We had no well and in winter we had to melt snow for laundry water. Did you know that it takes a pail of snow to make a cup of water.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

More wonderful compelling tales, Meggie, you seem to have a bottomless treasure-trove of childhood memories. Thanks for sharing them with us! I, too, loved playing with- and going through- all the buttons in my grandmother's button-basket!

velcro said...

My father, as a child, managed to persuade my uncle to put his fingers into a wringer. His fingers are surprisingly unflat.

Parents have an airing cupboard which I covet. I never thought I would ever write that!

Diana said...

Hi Meggie, The button tin took me back too. My mother used to thread up a darning needle with a piece of yarn and have me "sew" the buttons on a piece of shirt cardboard. I used to play with them when I was sick in bed too. She kept all her buttons in an old cake tin.

Ancestor Collector said...

My mother had a button tin and I loved to go through it, sorting all the buttons into their unique colors, then into groups of buttons that all looked the same. I still have her button tin and a button box of my own, but for the life of me, I can't remember the last time I had to go in search of a button from either box or tin to replace a lost button.

I love your childhood stories, Meggie! They always bring me back to similar times when I was a child.

Lois R. said...

Button tins! I remember my mother's button tins - I loved to pick through them... I could spend hours picking through the buttons.

I loved your Soft Hearts post. I think you are one of the softest hearts I know on the internet, Meggie!