Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Monday, August 1, 2011

doing the dishes

I was washing up my dishes last night, (mmm, roast chicken dinner), when I had a sudden clear memory of my Dad doing the dishes.

This was soon after Mum had left us, so I was eight.

I remember Dad putting a little cold water into the sink, adding a good sized sprinkle of Surf washing powder, (laundry powder) then adding boiling water from the kettle and whisking it up with an egg-beater to make suds.
Then he'd wash up the dishes in that while I was reading by the fire.

I don't remember him ever asking me to help and it didn't occur to me to offer.
This makes me think that before Mum left, she didn't have us kids "helping" with any housework.
(Although I clearly remember us hanging up our clothes when we took them off, and learning to polish our own shoes).

A few months later Dad brought home the first of the "housekeepers", to help with the housework and look after me after school. 

Ha Ha.

I wasn't fooled, nor did I need looking after.

Especially by the one who drank everything in sight, including the bottle of Metho when Dad instructed the pubs not to sell to her anymore.

In between "housekeepers", and after we didn't get them anymore, I don't remember doing any dishes until I was in high school.
I started doing the breakfast dishes, (one coffee cup, one cereal bowl, one milo mug) after I'd gone to a friends house so we could ride to school together and had to wait while she finished washing their breakfast dishes, because it was her turn.
Before that, all I'd ever done was rinse things and leave them on the sink.


  1. Never mind, I'm sure you've done more than your fair share by now. Funny the memories that come back to us.

  2. I think as soon as you were tall enough to reach the sink and turn the tap on yourself you were given a day to do dishes in our house. Dusting certainly started, for the later kids, around 2, and my mum is still trying to palm off the job of her ironing! It tends to be what happens in big families I think.

  3. Using detergent powder... I thought that was only done by my mum :) I just discovered how to use the dishwasher this year so I rarely wash the dishes "manually" now.

  4. Sounds like a flashback down memory lane :-).

  5. We certainly washed and dried the dishes. My father didn't, and my mother cooked. The rule was that she who cooked did not wash up - which seems fair if at least two people are eating.

  6. Delores; I've done my share and more. I actually like washing dishes.

    amandab; I had my kids helping from an early age too, they all knew how to cook and run the washer by the time they started high school. They ironed their own clothes when they started working.

    Joni Llanora; way back then dishwashing liquid was rarely seen, most people used laundry powder or had a little wire basket affair with soap scraps in it and they'd whisk up suds with that.

    Windsmoke; I've had a few flashbacks recently. Things I'd totally forgotten about.

    EC; We did the cook/don't wash up for a while, the we swapped to if you cooked you cleaned, that way the kids realised just how much extra work it was when they'd cooked using every pot and pan they could find, then forgotten to scrape and soak anything!

  7. We had to do very little around the house when we were young. Fetch the milk from the dairy and burn the rubbish. I never did dishes or made a bed until I left home. Now I am very fussy about such things. So much for training kids to do things so they can do them when they are adult.

  8. Australia was full of men like your father.
    They made this country.

  9. Andrew; I remember burning rubbish too. Once a week Dad would like up the incinerator down the back of the yard, and we'd bring out newspapers, rubbish from under our beds etc. In summer we'd stand by with the hose just in case, in winter dad would put the oven rack over the flames and cook chops on there.

    R.H. They did a good job too.