My grandmother saved all the bacon grease (lard) and once a year made lye soap in a big tub out behind the house. I have just faint memories of it, but the tub was huge, set over a fire, and the soap was stirred with what seemed like a broom handle. Of course, I was young and small, so everything probably seemed bigger to me then. Our washer was a wringer type, and we rolled it over to the kitchen faucet to hook it up. There was a compartment for washing and a compartment for rinsing. In between the two was a wringer that you operated by hand. I can't find a picture of one, but you've probably seen pictures. Of course, all the clothes were dried on the clothesline.
|When I was looking for a photo, I was stunned to find numerous posts on how to hang your clothes on a line. I thought everyone knew how, because I grew up doing it. I didn't realize you had to be taught.|
She also was the first composter I met. She had an aluminum pie pan that sat on the kitchen counter. All the scraps would go in there, and then she would bury the scraps around the yard and flower bed. Nothing went to waste, either. I still have her button jar that is a collection of buttons that she and my mother clipped off garments that were no longer usable. The garment fabric was used for another garment or became a rag. I used to play with the jar, sorting the buttons by colors or shapes. No video games for me.
|This is similar to the one I have.|
We cooked all our food at home. Going out to eat meant going to a friend's or family member's house to eat. My grandmother used to complain about store-bought bread, but I didn't know what she meant. Commercial, sliced, white bread had become popular and cheap. I thought we always had white bread. I remember going to the day old bakery and getting four loaves for one dollar. Then later in my life, Roman Meal bread came out with a whole wheat version. I think that changed breadmaking for the better. Look at all the choices you have now.
|I was very surprised to find out that this bread, which had its start in Tacoma, Washington, has been around since 1912. I guess it just took a long time to make its way down to South Texas.|
I had read some books on natural childbirth, and my husband and I chose to have our babies born at home with a midwife. I breastfed my babies in a time when mothers were still being given formula to take home with them from the hospital. Formula companies couldn't make money if women were breastfeeding, and one of the easiest ways to ruin a breastfeeding relationship is to introduce a bottle when the newborn is learning to suckle.
|A little propaganda time. If you don't know about this, you might want to look into it.|
I also used cloth diapers. We didn't have diaper covers then, we had plastic pants. They were awful. It was about then that a company started advertising diaper covers in Mothering magazine. My friend who had just had a baby got the idea we could make our own, and we did. Ours was also the first group of moms to wear our babies, using a long scarf---rebozo--- tied in a knot. My rebozo came from Guatemala. I had a bright idea that I was going to make a bunch and sell them, but then they came out with the kind that were all padded and adjustable, and my little scarf didn't meet the demands of these newfangled moms.
|This isn't me, but this is how our rebozo worked. I used it from newborn on up, even on my back.|
|Our newest chick, at the feet of its mother.|