The smell of the fifties

I was raised with bare incandescent lightbulbs in fixtures that had little chains affixed to them. You had to pull the chain to turn the lights on and off. If one of them stayed on a while and you touched it, woe unto you. A burned finger might be the outcome.

I remember my Mother’s first washing machine. The tub was automatic, and it ran off electricity, but you had to put the clothes through the top part to wring the water out by hand, turning the crank. Mom hung the clothes out on a clothesline using wooden clothespins to keep them up. I loved the smell of the clothes on the line as the breeze shimmied by, the faint odor of bleach on the white bedsheets, accentuated by the warm sun.

I used to listen every afternoon at four o’ clock for the giant air whistle at the mill to loudly signal that first shift was over, and then I’d run out and look down sixth street, watching for Daddy to come walking up that hill towards home. Most of the time to sit down at our little round, Formica top table to a meal of pintos, fried taters and cornbread.

I think now, I’m glad I was there then, at that time and that place with those people. I think now, I’m so lucky to have subsequently found the other friends and family with whom I have shared this life. Every direction in which I have turned there has always been someone there for me….with me.

I think now, there are still memories to be made and happiness to be shared. New relationships to nurture, and different paths to walk. There is always change. That’s the one thing you can count on.

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