Looking for answers to life's questions

Spring is in the air and with somewhat warmer temps, I’ve had a bit energetic momentum. It was time to change out the down comforter for something a bit lighter. When I opened the bag the lighter weight comforter was in, the smell nearly knocked me over. Well, I certainly couldn’t sleep under that. What to do, what to do? I could pay $20 -$30 dollars to get it dry cleaned and live with that chemical smell. There is no laundromat close by and because it has ribbon embroidery on the front, even a commercial washer can be a bit hard on it.

My last option was going back to an old memory from almost 45 years ago. Yes, I’m that old. My young military husband was stationed in Taiwan and I was allowed to join him there with our toddler son. It was like stepping into a time warp. We finally found a nice two-story apartment that had almost no modern conveniences. At least it had indoor plumbing. I cooked on a two burner hot plate and a toaster oven. We bought a refrigerator from the PX that was sold to the next family when we left. Washer and dryer? Not an option.

Military families were encouraged to hire local household help. I had very little to do in the way of cleaning the apartment but it was explained to me by those in the know, that a house girl did more than clean. I found a gem. She spoke relatively good English and understood quite well. Her job was essentially to do my downtown marketing and oversee what my son received as snack from neighborhood playmates. She said some things were ok for him, some not. Everything someone gave him, he had to show her before eating. If it was ok, he got the go ahead, if not it was traded for something safe for his American constitution. She taught me so many things in that 15 months.

What I learned about laundry from my house-girl, was something that has helped many years over. She watched me one day doing my laundry in the bathtub. I was doing it wrong. “Back and arms not strong” she said. “Legs and feet stronger” I just looked at her. Get in the tub with your feet and swish the clothes that way. By golly, it worked and my back was very happy about it.

Those are some strong legs and feet there. Just not very pretty.

Those are some strong legs and feet there. Just not very pretty.

any wonder I'm so fascinated with ducks.

any wonder I’m so fascinated with ducks.

That is what I did with the comforter. I couldn’t take pictures of me actually doing the washing parts. I’ve already given 2 phones a permanent burial at sea that way. I also have to firmly hold on to the counter and the tub handle because of my balance issue. So all you get to see is the spin cycle. Once the water is drained, I put it in the dryer on a delicate dry. Now, on my bed, it smells quite fresh and lovely.

Finally on the bed for a while.

Finally on the bed for a while.

I’ve done laundry this way on rare occasions and it always brings back fond memories of a woman, herself a mother of 3, who always had our best interests at heart and kept us safe in unknown territory. It’s interesting what brings up memories. A spring cleaning can bring up many for me. How about you?

Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.
~ Bob Dylan

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Comments on: "In Search of an Odd Memory" (8)

  1. Spashionista said:

    What a lovely story, and what a great idea! I’m very careful with my things and, although I have help if I need it, I will definitely try this method of washing.
    I lost almost all my photos and lots of memorabilia in a flood almost three years ago in May so I don’t necessarily have great spring cleaning memories. It’s ok, though. these days I’m trying to live more in the now 🙂

    Spashionista (Alicia)


    • I’m taking all new photos as well. Mine were lost in the divorce or are lost in storage. I enjoy my memories but I too prefer to live in the now. There is no where else to really be. Do be careful if you try this way of washing. I had to hold on tight. It was so much easier when I was well and of course, younger.


  2. What a great way to clean your quilt. Years ago I hired a Philippine woman to baby sit my boys while I went to school. She didn’t have all the conveniences in her home country we had here and taught me quite a few things. Yes, she did her laundry in the tub as well.


  3. What an adventure you had. I like the colours in your cover too. Did you manage to keep in touch with your foreign friend? I got my fridge cleaned and recycled a box full of bottles and what not. and took the whole think apart and washes and shined up everything. Took up a whole afternoon.


    • Sounds like you’ve had a bit extra energy as well. 🙂 No, I was not able to keep in contact as she read no English and I never had a mailing address. They kind of live in the moment. You are there and then you are gone. Oh, well. We talked about her for years but we were just one of many jobs for her. It was one of many adventures in my life. Thaks for reading. M


  4. In college I had a roommate from Taiwan. We kept in touch for awhile. I would love to be able to talk to her again.



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