we are all the things we leave behind

Posted: March 5, 2021 in sheree gillcrist
Tags: , , , ,

I believe there is a laundry legacy in each of our lives. Mine is a snapshot of my five foot mother bent double like a clothespin over the rim of the wringer washer while piles of sorted clothes dotted the kitchen floor like stocks of wheat in a farmer’s field. Every Monday she hauled steaming buckets of water, sun up to sundown, from the water tank on the back of the Kemac stove. As the day grew longer her patience grew shorter and if the clothesline sagged and broke as she pinned her last towel to it, she surrendered her soul to the steps of the stoop and cried.

My 14 year old hanging-onto-hope-that-one-day-I’d-be-a-hippie self, dismissed her single-minded path to pristine white soles on our socks as a waste of time. “Who cares”, I said and she replied with a bar of sunlight soap in her hands — “I do”.

Even as we both grew older she would call me at my first apartment to remind me to bring home my white uniforms, grey from the dryer of the laundromat, so she could return them to their former white glory by letting them drip and dry for several days in frigid temperatures, giving them back a life that I thought was gone forever and I let her. I let her. Youth has a lot to answer for.

I never thought much more about the price you pay for doing the laundry until this happened and now I own it too.

I bought my mother an automatic washing machine as soon as I was able.

“Once as a child, I rose to find my mother, tears streaming down her face clutching the rim of the kitchen sink… the faucet running wide open, water splashing everywhere. Her best friend. The one that knew all her secrets and had giggled with her behind the backs of red headed farm boys, had died that morning… on the floor, beside the stove she had attempted to light with a splash of kerosene so she could heat water for the wash.” ~ ‘Maids of the Morn’, (from Wandering Spirits and Restless Hearts, by Sheree Gillcrist)

Sheree Gillcrist is a writer, freelance journalist, music reviewer, Artistic Director of NeelyG Entertainment, and Music Promoter at R10Venue. She is also a Nurse Specialist of early and late onset Alzheimer’s and collector of the lyrics of life that we hang our laundry on. As a daughterless mother the first song explains me very well. I live my life between the lines of Leonard Cohen Songs. I believe in the word. I offer the second song in the interest of what is a beautiful about mothers and fathers and all of us travelling on life’s road.



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