Pipi’s Pasture: A spring cleaning ritual
Ever since I was a young bride I’ve been big on spring cleaning. It came about naturally after a childhood of watching women thoroughly spring clean their houses after a long winter. They waited until the weather was warm enough to open windows, air out their houses and mattresses, and hang freshly washed blankets, bedspreads and rugs out on the clotheslines to dry in the sunshine.
Even bed pillows were hung outdoors for a good airing. Of course walls were washed down and cupboards and closets cleaned. It was a spring ritual of sorts.
When I was a kid all of this cleaning was done without the benefits of a washer or dyer and other modern conveniences. At our Morapos ranch, water for washing laundry was heated on the stove and poured into a big wash tub, and clothes and other household items were washed on a washboard with homemade bar soap. Rinsing was done in another tub of water that was changed when it became soapy (It was a lot of work, indeed.)
After Lyle and I were married, we lived a couple of different places before buying a home in Severance. Most of my spring cleaning memories are from that time. Each year I chose spring break week to do my cleaning (I was a high school teacher).
Spring arrives early in that part of the state, and by spring break week we often had some of the garden planted so it was warm enough to open up the house. (This wasn’t to say that we didn’t have a big snow about a week later.)
Our house was unique because most of the rooms were paneled with a dark wood and trimmed with fancy carvings. The living and dining rooms were joined together by a hardwood archway with a shelf at the top on both sides. The dining room had a built-in china closet with glass doors on top and drawers below. There was a fireplace in the living room and a bay window with a bench seat below. Glass-paned double doors led to the main bedroom, and one could walk through its closet into the closet of the boys’ room. That bedroom had huge, built-in set of drawers for clothes and toys. All of this is to say that there was a lot of spring cleaning to be done.
It was a whirlwind of activity as I cleaned that week. All the wood had to be wiped down with Liquid Gold and then wiped down one more time to wipe off excess oil and shine the walls. Windows were washed and curtains washed and ironed, kitchen and bathroom walls were scrubbed, and closets and cupboards cleaned. In a week the house was ready for spring as I finished the last two months of school.
Spring has finally arrived here at Pipi’s Pasture. I cringe at the sight of dust around the house, at the sight of spots on the windows, and at the curtains that need to be washed — and that’s only part of it. But … I’m no longer a young bride, and I’m afraid that my spring cleaning activities will not be described as a “whirlwind.”
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