My husband and I just finished washing and drying dishes together. This teamwork reminded me of when my siblings and I shared dishwashing and drying duties back in the 50's. That was a great lesson in learning to work together with contesting peers!
My younger sister and I were usually at odds over who would dry and who would wash. Mother would have to choose, and she quickly figured out that it was best to make assignments for an entire week. Even then we had arguments over whose turn it was to wash.
The person who washed the dishes had the worst job. He had to start first, scour out grimy pots and pans, and clean the cabinet top and sink at the end. The person who dried dishes would usually have the upper hand. She could come late (making the dishwasher angry because the rinse sink was now overflowing with dishes), or throw dirty spoons back into the wash water--with a "You forgot to clean this!"
In those days, Mother cooked daily meals from scratch using non-Teflon pans. The only thing that made the skillet easier to clean was the gravy which during cooking had released the stuck browned meat and flour. An electric clock hung above the sinks of wash water and rinse water. Looking at the clock's second hand, we held regular contests on who could hold their breath the longest.
The issue that led to the most fights was who got to sing. Naturally we did not like to sing together. We finally agreed that whoever started singing first could continue without interruption. Yes, dishwashing days are over in most families. A pity, because I can't think of a better way to practice getting along with your neighbors.
BOOK: The Devil Hates Latin
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