Monday, September 20, 2010

Dirty Enough Dungarees

I took off my jeans after the long work day on Saturday and was instantly transported back to my childhood. The scene was my grandmother’s kitchen where I had handed her a pair of jeans to wash. She held up the jeans, inspecting them carefully all over. “How many times have you worn these dungarees?” she inquired, squinting a little at me as she shoved the jeans back into my hands. “Just yesterday,” I responded, holding the jeans out for her to take back. “There’s not a speck of dirt on them.” She responded. “You’ll have to wear them some more before I wash them.”

I was horrified, but, after she explained that the water was limited and she didn’t want to waste her water (or her time) washing something that clearly wasn’t dirty, I could sort of see her point. She also explained that washing things wore out the fabric and that if she washed something so frequently, it would wear out sooner. The scene in the kitchen went on for many more days, until finally one day I brought the jeans to her and she deemed them “dirty enough” to wash! They looked very much like the jeans in this snapshot.

I still wear many things—especially jeans—more than once because of that experience. But these jeans are definitely “dirty enough” even after one wearing.


Anonymous said...

Really cute story. My mom was the opposite. She would make up change at least twice a day and have the clothes then go into the wash. But we were the ones doing the washing. I think she just enjoyed having kid labor. Now, I always wear clothes again if they do not need to be cleaned, especially jeans.Your story brought back memories.

Auntie K said...

Isn't it funny the things that evoke our memories and shape our habits?! My mom did a lot of laundry, too. But, she had a machine and wasn't scrubbing by hand in a bucket, like my grandmother! Thanks so much for stopping by.

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