Rain barrels, apple blossoms and white lace curtains

Mildred Higgins
Mildred Higgins

Where are the days of white lace curtains?

My grandma Hammons had white lace curtains through out her house.  She washed, starched and placed them to dry on curtain stretchers.  The last time I remember seeing a pair of curtain stretchers was as a young girl on the lane.   To the younger generation that have not see, or heard, of this item, a curtain stretcher is a large wooden frame with tiny sharp points. The nail head points outline the frame.  A panel of washed starched lace curtains is placed on the stretcher, held by the tiny nail heads until the curtains dry. I remember helping grandma place her curtains on stretchers and placed them in the sun until they were dry. After drying grandma ironed the ruffles to perfection.   Then the fresh clean curtains were hung on squeaky clean windows… Her motto was “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” I can hear grandma’s prideful words as she carefully tied each panel of curtains to the side of the window.  “There is nothing prettier then a clean pair of white lace curtains.”

Grandma’s windows seemed to smile at everyone as they passed by going down the lane.  Her spring cleaning ritual was something short of amazing.  By today’s standards she accomplished much with little.  My Aunt Janie said that a bottle of “Lysol” was grandma’s best friend. Grandma was a strong woman, spiritually and physically.  She did work that most men and woman of today would find challenging.

She would think nothing of tearing into a room and completely cleaning it from floor to ceiling.  She rolled the room size carpet and managed to hang it over the clothes line. Then she proceeded to beat it with a large swatter, until it was dust free.  While it was airing and sunning, the floors were mopped and waxed before the rug could go back down. If she had owned a vacuum cleaner in those days, she would have cleaned all the neighbors’ houses on the lane. When she was satisfied that everything had been cleaned, the house was put back in order.  All this was accomplished in one day”   “Hard work never killed anyone!” were grandma’s words. For that day and time her home was always clean and cozy.  The smell of apple and spice permeated the kitchen.  The bedrooms were filled with the aroma of rose peddles and dried flowers. Her windows were open to let the cool summer breeze flow through the house.

As a child I love to spend a night with her.  The bedroom’s white lace curtains would move with a gentle breeze flowing in through the window. Her hand crocheted bedspread gave compliment to the room…To sleep in grandma’s freshly cleaned room, and to snuggle in her feather bed is as experience to always be remembered and never since repeated. Grandma pampered and catered to me like I was a princess. She constantly fluffed the feather pillows and brought me tomato juice from the well bucket where she kept it cool  to drink. 

Grandma told me that I was born in this room on a day much like theday we were experiencing.

Knowing this gave me reason to appreciate the room even more as I rested. I remember the feel of the breeze coming through the open window, and smelling the apple trees in bloom. The summer breeze lifted the white lace curtains causing them to appear to be dancing slowly for me.  The dance of the curtains entertained me as I snuggled in grandma feather bed. Yes those were the days of white lace curtains and a simpler way to live long ago.