Monday, November 10, 2008

I'd like to wring your...shirt.

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Many moons ago when I was in 6th grade my mom packed my three brothers and me up and moved us from Florida to the middle of no where Pennsylvania. Talmar for those of you so inclined to wonder where exactly this place could be.

For some it would have been a horrific experience to leave a beachside community for the open fields of cow manure that wafted through our windows when the farmer down the hill plastered our hillside with it. And, some days it felt like we were given a raw deal but most days it wasn't so bad. In Florida there were things we were only too eager to leave behind. And, by coming to Pennsylvania we would be coming home to family. My grandfather had moved up to what we called the suburbs of Talmar (about a mile down the road you see curving past the stop sign) after he retired from his job in Philadelphia. Actually it's one of those suburbs of Philly, Neshaminy maybe. Pennsbury School District rings a bell. I think he was head janitor or some such. I'm sure a family member will come along to correct me.

Above is a picture I took last November of the apartments we lived in for the first couple of years. It's amazing how little has changed. It looks almost identical to what it did the day we moved in, including the peeling green paint. The only difference is the lower portion looks like it has been closed in and perhaps a living space created. It was a vacant window front store when we lived above it. I was told it was the post office for a time and a general store. They had one up the road in Unityville that sold practically anything you could think. Although, I'm not sure even that was still open when we moved up there. I recall having went with my grandparents who we would stay with during the summers.

Talmar hasn't changed much. It is still as isolated as it was back in 1978 when we were its residents for a time. It's still 8 miles to Benton and 10 to Millville where the closest laundromats were. I remember going to Benton with my grandmother to do laundry but that was when we were staying with them in the summers. Sadly, the motivation for moving to Pennsylvania was my grandmother's demise.

That's why I was grateful that our neighbors had a washing machine in the basement that they were happy to share. During the winter, I could hang the clothes in the furnace room and in the summer they hung outside.

Here's the kicker: Below is a picture of the kind of washing machine that I used. I saw it at an antique shop a couple of weeks ago. Most people my age would have no clue how to use this device, but I still remember as the memories of doing laundry came flooding back and I described to my friend that was with me what the purpose of various gadgets on it were. Actually, I think this may be an even nicer model than the one I used. I don't recall our wringer being encased with metal like the one below.

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7 comments:

Lisa :-] said...

Amazing that, at your age, you actually used one of these old babies. My mom had one when I was little, but she had traded up to a real live "automatic washer" by the time I was old enough to do any laundry...

Shelly said...

Wow, that sure looks primitive.

Donna said...

I featured an old picture in my blog recently of my toddler children playing in the soap-suds of my old wringer washer. I used one of those until the mid-70's.

Wil said...

I used a wringer washer throughout my teens. I actually think it was more energy efficient than the automagics we use today...

By the way, I have been through Talmar -- that's way back of beyond! I grew up in Gardenville, PA, ON a dairy farm. You have my sympathy. And you're right. It wasn't THAT bad. At least it wasn't, until I actually lived in a big city...

Remo said...

That place looks kinda cool; if only in a "Children of the Corn" kinda way. Somehow I KNEW you were a kid that did her chores.

gigi said...

I can't believe that's a fancy version of the thing you used to use. Were you Amish folk? :)

Of course, we used to beat our clothes on rocks down by the river. But then again, we were cave people.

sunflowerkat321 said...

I recognized a lot of the places you named, but not Talmar. How did I miss that?
:)

Your description of Talmar when you lived there sounds like it was a bit behind the times. What is it about some places that allow them to continue to offer a very simple way of life?