After registering, guests are handed a neat bundle of fresh sheets and pillowcases to make up a bed they’ve just paid for. But that’s not the unmade bed I have in mind.
That unmade bed is one of my cat’s favorite residences. Would I daily “make the bed” (an odd phrase) if it weren’t for the cat?
Absolutely not! No! Never! Perish forbid (a Canadian expression I filched from my sister-in-law)!
The unmade bed - except for changing what we continue to call linens instead of cottons - began with my arthritis and a very well built, very heavy mattress on a king-size bed. When I begged for help, my husband was right there, the “making up” of the bed accomplished quickly. A quarter could have been bounced on the bottom sheet. Coin bouncing on a perfectly made up bed is only observed by the military - and I’m not entirely sure that’s required today in the Middle East.
The question is: Why change bedding when those of us who sleep alone are continent and have no other body fluids to scar the sheets? Who said that sheets have to be changed once a week? I actually know persons who enjoy sheets that are changed daily, but not by them. And those sheets are sometimes silk. I have never slept on silk sheets. Because I’ve not had the experience of sleeping on silk, I am in no position to make a judgment aside from not caring, the fact of silk sheets merely curious.
What I would care about are sheets laundered in grated Fels Naptha - naPHtha is incorrectly spelled for hoi polloi (Greek for “the people”). It is my opinion that when a person sees “ph” that he understands it’s sounded as if it were an F - you know, as in telephone, geography, phonograph, Phoenix, ophthalmologist . . .
Have you ever laundered bedding in the loveliness of Fels Naptha? Twenty years ago, it was a large yellow bar that cost $.49 - long, long ago, it was a dime. The last time I looked, it was much smaller and cost $1.69. If you really want glorious “linens” please give Fels a try, particularly if you’re able to hang laundry outside. How I loved pinning laundry to clothes lines, hoist it high with a clothes pole. I lived so simple a life that when my husband went to the lumber yard, bought four long lengths of wood and cut out one end to catch up a line of fine rope, with great glee, I raised high, high, high the flags of laundry, weather permitting. Weather not permitting, laundry was hung in the basement.
One time, my children’s father - who did a lot of wood-working and furniture building - sighed, “When are you going to take down the laundry. I have trouble with large sheets of wood when I use the band saw and can’t turn it properly.”
Without expression, I explained, “It hasn’t been hanging for a week, it’s been fresh laundry every day.”
He was gob smacked. I grinned.
I had a ringer-type washing machine and a wash board I used to scrub the collars and cuffs of my husband’s dress shirts. He wore a fresh shirt every day except Saturday - six shirts a week to wash, dry and iron. And I prepared boiled starch for the collars and cuffs as well as starching other items such as tablecloths, napkins and cotton dresses.
Are you with me so far?
Remember when PBS created a show where a family agreed to live as folk did in the early 1900’s? They had a terrible time, modern folk that they were. I wouldn’t have been keen on it, but I wouldn’t have had a problem.
And think upon this: All great civilizations were built on the backs of slaves. Not entirely trusting my take on slavery and civilization, I went to the usually trusty internet and found this.
Asked what I would do without the internet, I said, “I would have kept my library, although I’m not sure where I would have put it - hundreds and hundreds - and hundreds - of books. I shudder to think of pawing through the material until I found - or maybe not - what I was seeking.
And think on this: I knew a writer who typed on an old Royal and made five carbon copies along with the original top sheet. And he wrote huge books. After wearing out several electric machines, there was the word processor and then floppies - the real one, not the hard disk referred to as floppies.
What does it mean to have someone begin with an unmade bed, go to laundry and end with sweet machines that help writers write? One of my best friends said: “I love your bouncing mind.” I doubt that everyone loves my bouncing mind.
The connection to the mismatched materials is freedom. I waste no time making up the bed and my cat loves that as much as I do. I’m free from the work of doing the laundry I loved when I was younger, much younger. I’m free from having to write by hand or change typewriter ribbons or use carbons.
Let Freedom Ring! is tomorrow’s blog, but it has nothing to do with today’s subjects.