Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Very Rich Man

When I was about 10 years old, it seemed everyone we knew was getting a dishwasher. Often it was avocado green and on wheels. The butcher-block top allowed it to double as a kitchen island. When it was full of dirty dishes, you could wheel it over to the sink, secure the hose to the faucet, dump in some soap, turn on the hot water, and wah-lah, 2 1/2 hours later your dishes were clean.

Such luxuries, however, were not for us. Regularly, my younger sisters and I were sent to the kitchen to wash dishes after dinner. With orange vinyl kitchen chairs pushed up to the sink, inevitably, we would get the counters, the floor and our clothes as wet as the dishes.

Occasionally, we hosted guests for Sunday dinner. After the meal, they would begin to rise and offer to help with the dishes.

"Sit down," my dad would insist, "The girls will clear the plates." And even though we really wanted help with our chore, obediently four little girls ages 5-10 would get up and begin clearing the table.

"Well I can help wash the dishes," the guest would often offer, "You don't have a dishwasher do you?"

"A dishwasher?" my dad would brag, "Are you kidding? We've got four!" And with that his four dishwashers would take the dirty plates, glasses, bowls, and silverware and disappear into the kitchen for a water fest.


  1. Hmmmm, I want/ need/ demand more details about what the Sisters Five ACTUALLY did during the water fest in the kitchen.


  2. Excellent run of posts lately, DG.

  3. Hey, I remember those dishwashers. Ugly, unwieldy things, weren't they? I hadn't thought of washing dishes by hand as a social activity, but now that you bring it up, it does seem that it was a gathering place for us all after a huge meal (especially on Sundays). Lots of dinner conversations continued over suds and dish towels.

    Nice post!

    David sent me - D

  4. I remember standing on a chair at the kitchen sink washing dishes. Mum would come in and say "I see the tide's in!" as she got the mop out to get all the water up off the floor!

    I came here via David's.

  5. What I remember most about childhood sinks and dishwashing...

    ALWAYS rinse the milk out of the glass.

    Do NOT let the water run while washing dishes.

    A neighbor with 3 daughters wouldn't let me help wash until I could raise the cast iron frying pan all the way over my head.

    That sucker was I just watched :(

    David sent me :)

  6. can i just express how glad i am that you are back to blogging? i hope it isn't temporary. we've missed you so.

    we didn't have a dishwasher for the first four years of marriage, and even though my husband told plenty of dishwasher/women jokes, HE was the dishwasher in our house.

    your father was lucky to have all those daughters to do the dishes. i now know how many dirty dishes a large family can generate (and we are only on #4 around here.) thank goodness that i have a built-in dishwasher now.

  7. I remember that as a child too! We WERE the dishwashers.

    And until I bought one, I called my dishwasher by my son's name (or my husband's) lol

    Shame on me. :-/

    That was a great post. Over from David's.

  8. David,

    Sisters 1-4 spent a lot of tme crying a fighting, turning a 30 minute chore into a two hour one. Sister #5 was the baby and was excused from the chores until she was much older.

  9. Momma,

    Welcome! They were unwieldy. And creaky. But oh how we wished we had one.

  10. Akelamalu,

    WIth one dishwasher it might be a tide comin' in. With four of us it was more of a hurricane.

  11. Debbie,

    Rules! My poor children don't have any idea what rules are all about. At least not the old fashioned kind of rules.

  12. Debbie,

    Rules! My poor children don't have any idea what rules are all about. At least not the old fashioned kind of rules.

  13. Michal,

    It might be temporary. We'll see how long I can keep it up. So many stories to tell so I had to write 'em down while they were on my mind.

  14. Crazycath,

    Welcome and thanks for reminiscing with me.

  15. I remember how dad would laugh at his little joke every time, enjoying it as much as the first time he told it. Dishwasher? I have 4 ha ha ha ha .


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