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They have a whole house in the American History Museum at the Smithsonian, and exhibits tracing the lives of the people who lived in it between its being built in the 18th century and it being taken down and donated in the 1960's. At the turn of the 20th century, it had been split into flats and one of the tenants took in laundry. They had an interactive display on what it took to clean clothes then. One little wooden pail of water weighs 20 lbs. I don't remember how many it took to fill the tub, lifting it once was enough to make me love the laundrymat.

And in the south, it's still a custom to eat red beans and rice on Mondays, dating back to when that was wash day, as it was something that could be put on the stove and left while you were fighting the boiler.

For a year I had to live in an apartment without laundry facilities - That was my first foray into the laundromat experience - At my age this makes me sound like a brat (the random children touching my undies right in front of me was a low) - I just happened to grow up in a city and with a Mother that (no matter the money) did not tolerate life without appliances. I LOVE clean clothes, towels, sheets. If I had to do all of this by hand I have a feeling I may be less of a fan. Love this insight though. Makes me feel retro when washing my unmentionables by hand!

Oh, this is just what I needed. My washing machine broke the day before Thanksgiving. We ordered one that next Saturday but because of all of the Black Friday shoppers, the delivery date was going to be Dec 27! Seriously! Who buys appliances on Black Friday?!

So I've been feeling all sorry for myself since I've had to make a run to the laundromat and also did a load at my son's house. I should be thankful I'm not in the backyard trying to figure out how to wash them by hand! These women in this book are TOUGH. It makes me see how SAHM's these days have it so much easier. If I had had to live back then my family would be starving and wearing dirty clothes for sure!!

Oh and I did call about my washing machine and they had a delivery cancellation so it'll be delivered this Saturday!

Thanks for sharing this book with us Sarah!!!!

I can't decide which scent on my corsets I like better: tallow or kerosene. It's a toss-up...

at our house we throw things into the hamper after wearing one time and i use a fresh washcloth and towel every day...i wonder how long people wore their clothes before each washing...you know it had to be days and days. ugh.
i lost a washer one year on a saturday of a super bowl weekend (lots of cooking so lots of dishtowels, etc.) i called s***s and bought one, sight unseen, over the phone then called the delivery dept. and offered a cash reward for a monday delivery (hey, i had a houseful of company).
they left my house with extra cash and a tupperware bowl full of red beans and rice...yep, we really cook that on most Mondays or some form of it--unless it's new year's day--then it's black-eyed peas.

I just bought my house in June. It's the first time we've had a washer since 95. I love how easy everything is now, although we don't have a dishwasher and I would like one.

At one point my three kids and I were living on 11 grand a year and we did the laundry in the bathtub. The blankets were the worst - wringing them out always left my hands blistered and my arms sore.

When I was a girl we lived in Buffalo and had a house with on appliance; an old mangler in the basement. At least the mangler took care of wringing out the clothes which is always the hardest part. I was doing the wash for a family of 11 when we lived there. Plus there were rats in the basement.

All of this is totally coming in handy for my current project which is a YA novel about a girl who runs away from home and hides out in a foreclosed home with raccoons in the attic and a bear in the woods behind the house. Write what you know, right?

My laundromat gets fairly crowded and noisy, and I'm the only one there who speaks English, but I can do two loads of wash in front-loading machines and have them dry in a little over an hour.

My grandmother had a washing machine before she had electricity--they made gas-powered ones.

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My Books (with Elizabeth Craft)

  • 'Bass Ackwards and Belly Up' and 'Footfree and Fancyloose' tell the story of four best friends who commit the ultimate suburban sin: putting off college to pursue their dreams.

    Publisher's Weekly said: "Full of romance and adventure, laughter and tears, the story is a reminder that veering from the straight and narrow road doesn't always lead to a dead end."

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    What is Starfish Envy??

    • L.A. 2009. I’m stuck in traffic on the 101 freeway, listening to Isabella Rosselini on NPR. Isabella, for some reason, mentions that starfish are one of those rare species that can reproduce asexually, and I realize that if I could do that, I wouldn't have to worry about finding a boyfriend/husband. I wouldn’t have to internet date! I wouldn't have to figure out if I want to/can/should have a baby/adopt a baby/child on my own. I wouldn't have to stress about things like FSH levels, or weigh my feelings on in vitro versus adoption. I would just have a baby. Thus began my starfish envy.
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