I already managed to break something on my wringer washer . Arrrgh! Grandma used the thing for forty years, no problem, and I have the thing one week and something breaks. It's the wringer bushing assembly, the thing that holds one of the rollers in place. Maybe I tried to feed something too thick through the wringers. At least, thanks to Russ' web surfing this morning, he located someone in Illinois who carries parts for old Maytags. The nice thing about this washer is that anyone, even someone as mechanically inept as me, can look at it and make a reasonable guess what's wrong. There is no complicated circuitry, no fancy touch pads or automated dials.
Maybe this is my punishment for not sitting down and having a nice long talk with Grandma and asking her about the ins and outs (little pun there) of wringer washer use. I sometimes forget that she grew up in an age like no other, when electricity and automobiles and washing machines went from being new ideas to ways of life. She grew up on a farm, one of six siblings, daughter of a Swedish immigrant and a first generation Swedish American in Grasston, Minnesota. She knows the Swedish language well enough that she is occasionally called upon to translate early church records. She probably knows a lot about what I am trying to learn, about raising food and canning and washing clothes and sewing and other farm home activities. I have learned to can pickles and tomatoes from her.
I find it hard to ask her about life on the farm, however. When I tell her we're raising chickens she'll tell me what a horrible job it was to butcher them and how she would never do that again. She tells me of long hard days spent weeding gardens and digging potatoes. To this day she is insecure about her cooking ability because she was constantly told her sister was a better cook. So whenever we talk about the old days, I get the idea that she doesn't understand why I want to do things that way because it's so much easier to buy food from the store. I think many people from her generation accepted the idea that modern conveniences would save them lots of hard, menial work. I seem to be the only one in my family that sees things in a different light. I'm the only one who expressed any interest in the wringer washer.