The following is a recipe for washing clothes, handed down from a grandmother in North Carolina to her granddaughter, who was a new bride. It was found in an old scrapbook and is an exact copy as written—with spelling errors and all:


Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. Set tubs so smoke won’t blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boiling water. Sort things, make 3 piles, 1 pile white, 1 pile colored, 1 pile work britches and rags.

To make starch, stir in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water. Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don’t boil just wrench and starch.

Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench, and starch. Hang old rags on fence. Spread tea towels on grass. Pore wrench water in flower bed. Scrub porch with hot soapy water. Turn tubs upside down. Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair comb. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.

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