The Old Maytag

Maytag washer.jpg


Dec 30, 2015
Childhood Revisited
What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.

I think the earliest memory that I can recall quite vividly took place in our old farmhouse, in the era before electricity.

When my two brothers were at school I had the whole place to myself, just me and my mother because my dad was usually working out in the field. There I was, you might say I was king of my castle, no competition from my brothers. One problem with that, time seemed to go awful slow some days until they returned from school.

The memory that comes back always took place on the day my mother washed clothes. She would bring the old Maytag washer in from the back porch and get it all set up near the stove. The two wash tubs were placed where they were supposed to go. While she was doing this, water was heating on the old cook stove. Corncobs were used in the stove to heat the water because corncobs burned quite rapidly and created a lot of heat. After the water all got good and hot she carried it with buckets and poured it into the washing machine.

That old Maytag was operated with a little gas engine, it had a fairly long exhaust hose that took the exhaust fumes out the back door. When Mom started that little gas engine to begin washing clothes. My day of adventure started. The noise from that little Maytag engine completely mesmerizes me.

I would spend most of the wash day lying on the bottom step, where the staircase came down into the kitchen. That was my little throne, I lay there, eyes closed listening to that little engine. No doubt dreaming about flying an airplane in the War, or whatever else I could imagine that little engine doing for me. That tiny Maytag engine was my best friend, I imagined it powering me on many travel adventures.

My mother no doubt appreciated this because I wasn’t underfoot. It was just something about that special wash day smell, the laundry, cook stove, warm kitchen. Total access to the cookie jar! I do believe that is why this memory stuck with me.