Granny Mansion Moment #30: The Washing Machine – Alexandra Susan

In Alexandra Susan, nonfiction, photography on July 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm

On the list of Granny Mansion’s most cherished appliances, a close runner up to Sophie’s 1970’s home perm hair bowl would be our old Maytag washing machine. Set up where a dishwasher might typically be in a kitchen, the washing machine is rigged to drain into Olga’s sink and is about as loud as a helicopter.

“Oyyyy she shakes,” as Sophie observes.

It once shook so much that it tipped over in a flood of water and suds, I’ve heard, so Olga’s taken up a habit of clutching the machine on both sides during the spin cycle with the intention of suppressing the vibration. When she does this, she naturally begins shaking as well, and seeing her wrinkly, flabby body jiggling to the tune of the spin cycle is something I will remember and love always.

Throughout the entire rest of the cycle, she sits about 3 feet away from the machine, watching it with very intense eyes, just waiting for her cue.

Olga’s also one of those old country folk who believe in more bleach always. Several times she’s decided to pour a little splash into my loads when I’m not looking, and as a result, I’ve ended up with a number of shirts having that splotchy tie-dyed look that I was going for in 7th grade. Pretty much all of her sheets, mumus, and underwear are paper thin and snow white from years of continual bleaching.

And though the washing machine has been well-used for decades, we’ve never had a dryer in the house. There hasn’t really been a need. The grannies are content to string up their undies on clotheslines out the back windows to wave in the wind like flags of old eastern European pride.



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