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.
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.