By:Curtis Morton

The way I see it, boys and girls need to be taught from right early, how to be industrious in and around the home.

As I stated some time ago, I grew up in a large family where there were seven boys and one girl.

The modus operandi in those days, was for girls to lead out with the work in the house and the boys were to lead out with the work in the yard and exterior surroundings.

So, it came down to the fact that my one sister Alethea, was shouldered with the awesome responsibility of helping my mother with the cooking; the washing of numerous items of clothing, including some really dirty, hard to wash clothes from us boys; ironing; the sewing; the sweeping of the house and such delicate matters.

Us boys, were given such tasks as keeping the yard clean; working in the land, which included the use of the fork and hoe; planting of various crops; weeding and reaping of the said crops.

Speaking of the reaping of crops, one of the major tasks was the climbing of the dozens of Polly mango trees, during season and carefully picking and catching the mangoes, which would ultimately be offered for sale and had to be secured in a good condition.

It meant therefore, that we boys were never formally taught to cook.

Well, sometime ago, I elaborated on my cooking experience but today, I will deal with my washing exploits.

I went through Primary and Secondary school without learning to wash and having to wash anything. However, in 1980 or thereabout, I was given the privilege to be part of a Public Health course in St. Lucia.

Here I was, thrust on my own for the very first time in my life and not been fully prepared for the experience.

One of the key things to be accomplished was the weekly washing of clothes.

Of course, I could not let the other boarders at our rented home know that I was an idiot when it came to laundry matters. I wish that in those days someone would have written a book: “Washing made easy for idiots.’ I would have been the first one at the book store!

So it was that one afternoon, I was in the laundry room, with a box of tide, my dirty clothes and a washing soap.

Looking back, I know that I threw nearly half of the box of tide into the water and then I went to work, mentally memorizing the movements I would have seen my mother and sister make, when they were washing.

I soon realized that I had one major problem. When my mother and sister washed, I used to hear the ‘scoop-scoop’ sound but no matter how hard I tried, I was not getting my hands to make the sound.

Well I newa!

I had also heard that unless your hands were going ‘scoop-scoop,’ then you were not really washing.

So, for the first several weeks I worked on it and eventually one day, I heard the sound ‘scoop-scoop.’ It was like music to my ears.

Curtis had arrived!

Now, I can casually throw some clothes into a container with the appropriate amount of tide or breeze, for that matter and merrily roll along with the ‘scoop-scoop’ sound.

And you know what is really nice? When all of the washing is done and the clothes are rinsed and wrung out and hung upon the clothes line……Well, that is my biggest joy.

I normally take a little time to stand back and just admire my handiwork. Do I have a witness out there?

I have nothing against washing machines and of course they help to speed up the process but washing a load of clothes on hand, is an experience that all girls and boys should enjoy, every now and again.

And make sure your hands go ‘scoop-scoop!’

That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?

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