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In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
In the Good Old Days

Trivia Question

Trivia Question: Which popular movie based on a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was released in 1958?

Stiff Jeans and Crunchy Towels

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credit: Andrey Yurlov/

The dryer buzzer in my house just went off. I have a load of blue jeans in there -- mine and my husband's -- and they are now dry and ready to be folded and put away. They will be clean and soft and all set for their next wear.

It brings a smile to my face to think of the way my mom dried our jeans back in my Good Old Days. Jeans never went into the dryer back then. In fact, hardly any items got the privileged experience of being tumble-dried in our Maytag. That was reserved for special items of clothing. It seemed like everything went straight onto the clothesline in order to save money on our electric bill. If an item was selected for a turn in the metal drum, it was only for a short stint, and then it, too, went out on the line. Nothing stayed in the dryer for a full cycle. Ever.

One of my chores was to help with the laundry at home, so I recall shaking out the wet clothes from the washer and then pinning them to one of the two green, coated-wire clotheslines that were strung across our backyard. It was quite a stretch for me to reach the lines, and it was always a struggle to get the thick waistbands of my brothers' jeans to cooperate with the old wooden clothespins. But there they hung, next to towels and underwear and T-shirts and everything else, for one or two hours until Mother Nature's free drying services were completed. There was just one catch -- when finally dry, those jeans were stiff as boards, even in the middle of the summer. And the towels were not soft either -- they were almost crunchy! The combination of hard town water, the detergent we used, and the breezes that blew combined to make those jeans almost capable of standing up in a corner on their own.

When I get my own home, I would say to myself as I struggled to wriggle on a pair of unforgiving line-dried jeans, I am NEVER hanging my jeans on the line.

Never say never, right? When I was a newlywed, I did indeed hang my wet jeans on the clothesline, along with many other items, to save money on our electric bill. But nowadays, I mostly rely on the dryer. And guess what? So does my mom.

'Til next time,

Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine

PS. What was doing the laundry like in your Good Old Days? Did you help as a child? We want to hear about it! Send a brief response to me at, and it could appear in a future update or in Good Old Days magazine!

Here are a few answers from the Oct. 4, 2017 update question: Did you have a favorite storybook when you were a child? Who read it to you?

Deborah Oehler shared her favorite book memories: "My favorite book before I learned to read was The Night Before Christmas. My father would read it to my older brother, younger sister and me each Christmas. We would all gather around him. When he read it he would make it seem as if Santa himself was reading it to us. There were several parts in the book that I really liked, what with Dad's sound effects, but the best of all was at the end when he put his finger aside his nose and gave a nod and up the chimney he rose! He read it each Christmas for many years, and I got to where I would read it to my little sister (or pretend to read it and just look at the drawing and know what was on the page)."

Muriel Kuri said, "Reading your article reminded me of the books I loved as a child. We were poor, but my parents managed to buy (over time) a set of encyclopedias which came with an accompanying set of children's classics. Black Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Arabian Nights, Huckleberry Finn and Robinson Crusoe were some of my favorites. I read them over and over, and have such fond memories of them. They were beautifully covered and contained color pictures throughout of certain scenes. I'll always be thankful to my parents for the sacrifice they made to bring these wonderful gifts to the three of us kids. Thanks for reminding me of the fond memories."

Carole Crowl remembered a Golden Book story stating, "I cannot remember the name of the book, but it was about a camel whose face froze from frowning. I searched for this book when my children were young and could never find it. We always read books before bedtime."

Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.

Fill out the easy feedback form and let me know your thoughts, questions and ideas.

Trivia Answer

South Pacific. The film starred Rossano Brazzi and Mitzi Gaynor, and was nominated for three Academy Awards including: Best Sound (Fred Hynes), Best Cinematography and Best Music. Hynes won the Academy Award for Best Sound. The movie included the songs Some Enchanted Evening and I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair.

Find out more about the fashion, events and popular culture of America in the Live It Again book series at, featuring the best of The Saturday Evening Post!

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