Friday, December 02, 2005

READERS' FEEDBACK: Recollections Assignment

From: Roy T. Beck
DearMYRTLE,
A recollection from my childhood. In the 1930s mother used to make lye soap using fat from hogs and other sources. The resulting soap was too strong for hand washing, but it worked fine for doing the dishes and laundry. To manage the irregular pieces of soap, mother had a hand tool which had a wire handle and a little box-like cage on the end. The cage hinged open to receive the soap, and then latched shut. By swishing the little cage in the hot dishwater, you worked up good cleansing soapy dishwater. The cage would also accept scraps of hand soap bars, so they went in too. Nothing wasted in depression times.

We also had two different butter churns, one with a vertical dasher and one with a crank on the side and a revolving paddle arrangement inside. Of course we had a hand cranked cream separator.

Later we stopped making our own butter and sold the whole milk from our one remaining cow. We switched to oleo for the table, which came white and required mixing in the color pack which came with it. This was fine until my dad saw my mother mixing it one time. He had to have real butter, and so after that mother had to buy a pound of butter for dad, and the rest of us ate white, uncolored oleo. Dad ate colored oleo for quite a while without realizing it wasn't butter until he caught her coloring it! Male stubbornness or vanity, I don't know which.

We do enjoy your recollections.

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From: Al Jensen

DearMYRTLE,
Reading these brought to mind things I had forgotten I remembered! Recall the extra pedal on the old Model 'T' - reverse gear? For people who don't remember 5 1/4" floppy disks, they came AFTER the 8" ones! We used to use tongs similar to the ice tongs mentioned, but these were LOG tongs used to drag logs out of the woods behind a team of horses. Cant hooks and Peaveys used to be common, but most people nowdays are not familiar with them. One of my favorite memories (now that it's in the past) is blowing warm breath on an ice-covered window to make a hole to look through.

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From: Barbara in Corrales NM
DearMYRTLE,

There are a lot of ice tongs on eBay, and probably any other item you're looking for! I enjoy just looking for old utensils, antiques, old light fixtures, etc. Another eBay hint, if you'd like to see old pictures from almost any area of the country, try looking at postcards. I actually found a card with a picture of the school where my grandfather taught in the early 1900s in Corning KS. Amazing!

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From: Teresa Elliott
DearMYRTLE,

My kids were astonished to see a telephone with a cord. We had to buy one when they hit the teenage years. They thought it was a new invention.

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From: Ann Ellen Barr

DearMYRTLE,
I have a pearl handled button hook that my mother had for her little shoes when she was 6 or 7. I took it to a Girl Scout Troop whom I was teaching MY HERITAGE Badge. The girls thought it was an earring! Oh my, how times change.

Also purchased, for 10 cents, a potato ricer. After I had paid for it, the lady said, "Ok, you own it -- what is it?" I explained how you boil potatoes and then press them through and they come out looking like rice. We loved having potatoes that way when I was a girl and now can have them for our grandchildren, because I own it.

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