THE WELL

My mother, Rose Becce Clapps speaking

We had to carry all our water up from the well. For cooking, for washing, for everything. We would say to each other, “Do you want to get the water or do you want to get the wood?” We all worked hard — all of us, don’t worry. It was a pain in the neck.

When you washed the clothes, you had to carry all the water up from the well. Then we had to heat the water. We’d have two tubs, one that had hot water and soap and one where you had the water to rinse. We had a scrubbing board and we’d scrub the clothes. Then we’d put them in the other tub to rinse them out.

The linens, the sheets and pillow cases, white clothes got special attention. In the meantime, we had more pans on the stove heating the water for when you drained the rinse water out. For the white clothes, you’d take the Star Water bleach and you poured the bleach onto the white clothes you already had lined in the pan, one layer and another layer, the sheets of the week. Then you poured the Star Water, then you poured the hot, hot water on top; it was almost boiling, really hot. Then you would take and bleach all these white clothes sparkling white.

When you took them out, you hung them up and sometimes we’d hang them over the bushes because that made them whiter.