a week's work for a housewife?

I've just discovered after moseying around Flickr that you can search Life and end up here.  Oh. my. goodness. hours. and. hours. of. fun. This is my favourite. She looks so happy. For more than a few moments I feel envious and wish I didn't have to go back to work next week and could live in that moment in time and place and class when modern was shiny and new, not a whole lot of stuff in landfill and when mothers (mostly) stayed at home with their children. Then I slapped myself.

A weeks housework

The caption reads "Housewife Marjorie McWeeney w. broom amidst symbolic display of her week's housework at Bloomingdale's store incl. 35 beds to be made, 750 items of glass & china, 400 pieces of silverware to wash, 174 lbs. of food to prepare, some of 250 pieces of laundry."

It was taken in New York, NY, US, in June 1947. Already I'm asking herself why she made every body's bed. Although if the truth be told, I do most of the bed making around here. It all looks a bit neat and there certainly isn't enough laundry for five people for a week. I do rather like her washing machine though. As an object of beauty. Not as something I'd like to use. Although I do imagine that one would develop awesome back and arm muscles working that mangle.


  1. I love washalot. Sometimes I think about doing a PhD in the poetics of laundry.

  2. ooh - thanks for the heads-up Janet - I love old issues of "Life" - noice.
    Also, I really do think people abuse laundry these days. When she had to crank it by hand, by God you made sure that vest didn't get dirty, and many items would be worn again and again. As long as you were starched and clean for Church on Sunday ?
    I'm also a (little) bit surprised to see a pair of underwear up on that line ( ye gads! )

  3. Makes me tired and wrinked just looking at that.

  4. We saw two washing machines like that yesterday, in the window of a second hand place. For $400. If I was rich, I'd buy one just to stare at it and feel superior that I don't have to use it.