Stuck in the Middle: Life as the Middle Child of Eleven Children

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Author House, Mar 28, 2005 - Family & Relationships - 116 pages

Fridays were washday in my house.  It normally took eight five-gallon buckets of water just to fill the washing machine with enough water for one load of clothes.  With eleven children to wash for, this process took several hours.  We owned an old wringer washing machine that would squeeze water out of the clothes when placed between the two rolling pins, which were located at the top of the washing machine.  The washing machine was very dangerous to operate and, therefore, no one was allowed near it except for my mother.

One day, while Mom was in the process of doing her weekly washing, my younger brothers, Roosevelt and Jeffery, were fighting in the backyard.  Mom heard the noise and went to break up the fight.  While she was gone, I decided to help her out with the clothes.  I had been warned by Mom to never go near the washing machine. But being the hardheaded child that I was, do you think I listened?  I think not.

I took out a blouse that was washing in the water and placed it in-between the two rolling pins.  Lo and behold, my arm got caught in the wringers.  You would think that I would have had enough common sense to let go of the blouse, but no, not me.  All I could think of was that my arm was gonna fall off.  I was too scared to yell for help because I knew I would be in big trouble once Mom caught me meddling with the washing machine.   Luckily, Mom came back into the house just in time to unplug the electric plug from the outlet before by arm was completely under the wringer.  Of course after I was freed I started to cry.  I had to think of something quick in order to save my behind, so I told Mom I was trying to help her out with the laundry so that she didn’t have to work so hard.  It worked.  She felt sorry for me and I was spared a whipping that day.


When it was time to take our baths we had to fill the aluminum five-foot tub my dad had purchased from the hardware store with ten five-gallon buckets of water.  We then had to get the help of another person to lift the tub onto the top of the wood stove so that that water could be heated. We normally took our baths right there in the kitchen.  There was no door separating the kitchen from the living room, so when we bathed we had to hang a bed sheet in front of the opening. All eleven of the children had to share the same bath water.  The oldest child was usually the first one allowed to bathe and then the rest followed by age.


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Chapter Eight TATTLETALE
ChapterThirteen THE BLACK PURSE
Chapter Eighteen SUN MOON STAR
ChapterTwentyThree ILLNESS STRIKES

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