I think I’ve mentioned our childhood chore lists before. Mom had us washing dishes as soon as we could stand on chairs and reach the faucet. This may sound like child endangerment, but if you recall, Macaulay Culkin’s character “Miles” stood on a chair to wash dishes in the movie “Uncle Buck.” Of course he made it look fun—and probably had 13 stunt guys and stage hands around in case he began to fall off the chair.
Our dishwasher is currently broken, so I’ve been washing dishes by hand. Brings back fond memories of that nightly chore. Two of us girls were put in charge of dish duty: one to wash, one to dry. After years of dishwashing, we had to think of a way to entertain ourselves while we scrubbed and dried. I don’t know who started it, but we’d take turns playing “Bride.” (This is much safer than playing “Neighbor” which you may recall from my post a few weeks back.) One of us would grab a plate, put it on our head and place the cloth dish towel over it. Then we’d walk ‘gracefully’ across the floor pretending to be walking down the aisle. Apparently this thrilled us enough to do every night; well, with the exception of a few soap bubble fights.
Sometimes we’d be gliding around in our plate-towel veil and catch a glimpse of Dad leaning against the kitchen wall and staring at us with his arms crossed. Busted. He got sick of our time-wasting shenanigans, so he began setting the kitchen egg timer to 30 minutes. We had to be done within that time, or else. I can’t remember what “or else” was … I think we lost our Friday Night “Partridge Family” viewing rights. Well, those old egg timers were quite easy to manipulate. We must’ve re-set that thing at least another half hour every night. In fact, one night it took us almost three hours to do the dishes. I don’t know how Dad outsmarted us after that. Oh, I remember–that’s when we got our dishwasher.
Back to Mom’s chores list. She posted it up on the dining room wall. We had plenty of chores to keep us busy on a daily basis.
If you think I’m exaggerating, look at this note I found. It’s circa 1975, I think. So that would mean my sisters and I were ages 13, 12, 9 and 5.
I don’t remember why we didn’t have hot water; we weren’t that poor. Maybe the water heater was on the fritz. And Mom apparently had to emphasize my dish chore. Hmm. Maybe I was having trouble staying on task. She continues …
When Mom said to clean our room from top to bottom, she meant vacuuming, dusting, changing sheets and putting every shred of kid evidence away. Her note concludes…
Yeah, we had to take the bus. That’s a story for another time.
Well, I made out fairly well as far as the amount of chores went. Coleen certainly got the worst of it that day. On top of every other chore for this nine-year-old, she had to make dinner and prepare all the fancy weekly drinks. That’s right, the note said “fix milk” … I refer you to one of my original posts “Got Powdered Milk?” Poor Coleen.
Well, that was a busy summer day for us. Dad was enjoying himself at work and I guess Mom was going out for a spa day. Actually, I think she had just started a new job after being out of the work force for a while and apparently didn’t have time to update our usual chore list on the wall. I just wish I could remember what Coleen pulled together for dinner that night. Oh yeah … Friday Night Casserole.