I think about laundry and how people complain about doing it these days. Growing up, I watched mom have two Maytag wringer washer machines. She would start with the whites, then go to the work jeans and it was all washed in the same water. Then, she had to pass every single article of clothing through the wringer into the rinse water, and then pass them through the wringer again. Finally, mom would have to go up and down the steps to hang them on the line and then in the winter time, she would hang them in the basement. I mean every single item of clothing would be hung up with clothespins down to each sock.
Although the work wasn’t too different in Switzerland, it became more intensified here. Mom had to cook a lot in Europe because there was an uncle, an employee, and her husband, but here in Wisconsin, she had three growing children to feed. She also had to learn how to drive tractor because she would be the one to run the baler for haying in the summer. Even though it was hard living in a new place, she is grateful for the move here because she knows that they would not have accomplished in Europe what they did here.”
Rachel, Helene’s Mom:
“I did all of this hard work as it was a thing of economics. If we butchered everything ourselves, we didn’t have to buy the meat; if we cleaned the casings, we didn’t have to buy the casings. I have fonder memories of the first 20 years or so of being here farming, when we were still raising our kids. There was more joy when the kids were around. In our later years, it became more difficult because my husband suffered from dementia. Now that he has passed, I feel free and yet guilty in a way. He had diabetes and heart problems and was a bit stubborn; not wanting to do what the doctor said and it was hard to help him.”