Personally Yours
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Personally Yours

Cold water Dampens Daily Cleaning Effort

The Victor Press, October 22, 1959

Did you ever stop to ponder what you’d do if you had to do without hot water? Well, I never did, either. But if I had to write a treatise on the subject, I’d be pretty well informed due to an unplanned experiment last week.

Defective Thermocouple

My hot water heater went off. The trouble was diagnosed as a defective thermocouple which could only be obtained in San Bernardino. And what with one thing and another we had cold water for over a week. However, one does not get panicky (the first, second or third day, at least): one just sends the boys to bed dirty (cold water, I learned, had no effect on ground-in dirt); washes the dishes in water heated on the stove; and goes to bed at 9:30 exhausted from the effort.

Situation: Unchanged

The next day, Friday, and situation the same. Boys go to bed dirty again: dishes take two hours to do; and laundry begins to pile up. Saturday: The day we learn that a part (which can’t be obtained over the weekend surely) needs replacing in the hot water heater. Spirits begin to sink: dishes loom large and children look awful. I decide to bathe children but need bath myself for an evening out.

Me First!

Well, me first, I decide. But heating water for my tub takes forever (how MUCH do they HOLD?) and dirty boys again hit the hay. Father takes a cold shower. Sunday, we can no longer get into the laundry/bath room as dirty clothes mount higher than the sink and press against the door.

Something Must Be Done

I gather up six pillowslips full of laundry and head for the Laundromat, stopping on the way home for paper plates and cups. Next, I heat enough water to tackle the boys. It only takes three hours but they emerge from the grimy tub, clean as whistles … a condition guaranteed to last less than one hour. With no sense of accomplishment, I go to bed exhausted … and dirty.

Blue Monday

Next morning, more of the same, only worse: heated water does for brief morning ablutions; paper plates do something strange to the eggs; and dirty clothes again begin to mount. This saga continues for several more days, but I will spare you the rest of the details — they are so “unclean!”

To Conclude

Like all “experiments” this one has a conclusion: I conclude that while it is POSSIBLE to manage without hot water, it just about doubles the time and work for the average housewife.

My hat is off to the non-average housewife, the pioneer settler of today who homesteads without ANY modern conveniences like hot water, electricity, indoor plumbing — not even an automatic washing machine!

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Judy Flander

Judy Flander

American Journalist. As a newspaper reporter in Washington, D.C., surreptitiously covered the 1970s’ Women’s Liberation Movement.