The clay place






Sunday, September 20, 2015

Keeping clothes clean

As many potters know, we can have layers of clay upon our clothes and hands, which eventually crack off when they are dry, creating wonderful (cough cough) dust.

Here's my submission to Sepia Saturday this week...of a woman dealing with much more difficult circumstances.  Shelter for her family is iffy.  But to wash and dry clothes and bedding is done in the most minimal way.  This is living on a survival level.

Migrant workers camp in Weslaco, Texas, 1939, as seen on Facebook under Traces of Texas.

This is how people lived.  Not much different from migrant workers camps of today, if anyone would allow pictures to be taken of them.

And Wikipedia says this about Weslaco:
Weslaco is a city in Hidalgo County, Texas. The population was 35,670 at the 2010 United States Census. Weslaco derives its name from the W.E. Stewart Land Company.[3] It was the hometown of Harlon Block, one of the Marines photographed raising the flag at Iwo Jima, and of film and television actor David Spielberg.
Streets north of the railroad tracks have Spanish names, and streets south of the railroad tracks bear names in English as a consequence of a 1921 municipal ordinance which declared that land north of the tracks be reserved for Hispanic residences and businesses, and land south of the tracks be reserved for Anglo residences and businesses. During World War II, sandbag production reached a peak in Weslaco, and the town declared itself the "sandbagging capital of the world."
I dare say the migrant worker family in this photo was Latino.  Many migrant workers in south Texas are Latino, as well as all across the south of the US.

When looking for this city on a google map, I finally zoomed in enough to see it is between Harlingen and McAllen, a mile or so inside the US overlooking the Rio Grande River, just south of US Hwy 2.  In case you haven't visited south Texas, the closest big city is Brownsville.  I've been through that town on my way to Mexico a few times.

Did you remember the first electric dryer you or your mother or grandmother had?  Until that time, all clothes were hung on a line to dry.  Ours was in the basement, and I've had a few in a bathroom as well...a bit slower to dry, but necessary when it's raining outside.

Just think, all those clothes that all of our ancestors wore were dried on some kind of clothes lines (or thrown across bushes!)



  1. for many reasons our lives are so much easier than many

    1. It gives me pause, thinking of refugees especially. A moment of gratitude for my blessings.

  2. I still like to hang clothes outside. I have a nice big clothesline at the new place. Glad I don't have to do the washing by hand!

    1. I especially like my sheets dried in sunshine and fresh air...but my clothes go in drier, and then right onto hangars. I haven't ironed in probably 10 years.

  3. Oh yes, I’d forgotten the electric dryer. My grandmother had one that would be the size of a chest freezer these days. Still an improvement of the migrant workers’ camp though.

  4. Good observation and a photograph that has a story all its own.

  5. Barbara -- I was raised with a mother that used a wringer wash machine and a double cement deep sinks for rinsing. It was quite a process -- then outside to hang the clothes to dry.My duty was to rinse the clothes and then hang them outside. For some reason I enjoyed working with my mother and seeing the process through. Sometimes the most mundane chores can provide warm memories. nice photo -- barbara

  6. We had a wringer washer and hung everything to dry before the electric set. My mother thought she was in heaven with that more wringing! We are so privileged to live with all the conveniences we enjoy...thanks for the reminder.

  7. Three cheers for laundramats and even better for your own washer and dryer. I do use the clothes line some, when there's time.

  8. We had a wringer in the first flat we lived in. I've never bothered buying a dryer, as I much prefer clothes dried in the fresh air, although we did once have one we inherited from the previous owners of one house, which was the hanging type, and was used occasionally in wet weather when we had lots of baby clothes to get dry. It Also cane in handy for drying prints when I did a bit of home developing - you couldn't do that in a tumble dryer! Always amazing to see how people even in third world surroundings always look spotless in either white clothes or sparkling bright colours.

  9. And now entire housing developments won't allow people to even put up a clothes line. The world is off its axis for sure. The woman in this photo would have just been happy to get a little clean water.


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