My dishwasher broke down 2 days ago. I thought, oh boy...dishpan hands ahead. So for the past few days, yes, I have dishpan hands. But something surprising is happening. I am finding myself smiling while washing these dishes. I am taking this time to reflect on wonderful memories without even realizing I'm doing it!
When I'm standing there at the sink, gazing out my sunny windows I am thinking of my Grandmothers and loving every minute of it. I am doing a household duty the way they did it.
Although I usually have a working dishwasher, I still have liquid dish soap on hand for quick clean ups. Of course I stick to the ones my Grandmothers used. The classics.
My maternal Grandma used Palmolive, the beautiful emerald green color. My paternal Grandma used Dawn in ocean blue.
When I use my Palmolive, it transports me directly to my Grandma's kitchen when I was a little girl. She was at that sink more than 3 times per day, cleaning up after all of us. Never once complaining. She had a small, square kitchen in brown and beige. She made wonderful meals for us and for many years I spent 2 weeks of every summer at their lake house. The memories are making me well up with tears this very moment!
My paternal Grandmother was also very traditional. She was so in style, a magnificent creature she was! She had an eat-in kitchen in the shape of a rectangle. Bright and colorful. Soft blue and white are how I remember her kitchen with one door leading to the brilliant back yard, and one door leading to the basement where she did all her laundry. I remember she had a sponge cleaner to wash dishes. I loved that thing! It was a foamy type thing in the shape of an everlasting gobstopper, right out of Wonka land! It was bright yellow and on a magic wand! That is how I thought of it anyhow.
I wish I could stand next to my Grandmothers right now while they were washing dishes. I would watch them. I would admire them. I would ask them all about their lives.
My Grandmas were very different in many ways. But other ways, so very much alike. They were both excellent homemakers. And they were both desperately devoted to their husbands.
In closing, I'll just say, I don't think I'm going to be bugging my husband for a dishwasher any time soon. I am going to take this broken dishwasher and learn from it. I am going to enjoy my time at the sink, gazing out the windows, cherishing my memories. Honoring the women of the past who worked so hard as homemakers. Harder than I have ever had to.
To my Grandmothers: You are my idols, my teachers, my heroes. I miss you both every day and I treasure my memories of you.
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