Memories of my mum

Betty Drinkwater

Domestic duties

My sister and I had to learn domestic duties at 12 years old.  Mother showed us how to do washing, ironing and cooking.

Although my 2 brothers worked on farms, they still had to have their going out to church and socialising shoes cleaned by my sister and I at weekends.

We had to watch Mother with her ironing and starching of brothers' shirts and Mother always had starched white aprons.  Her washing day was her pride and joy.

With a basin of water on the the table ready to flick on the starched items, Mother would take the flat iron from the top of the fireplace and then iron all the creases out of each item.  We were not allowed to do the ironing until we were much older, but we still had to watch our Mother doing all the household duties.

Photo:All the washing..."so white"

All the washing..."so white"

Illustration by Heather Hookey

In service

My mother was in service at 12 years old as her mother was knocked down by a large Humber car which only people of standing had in those days and it was not to be pursued or enquired about.  My grandmother (my mother's mum) had been taking my grandad's dinner over cornfields with a white napkin wrapped round and a billy-can with ale in - as it was harvest time.  So, a family of 5 had to go to work and my mother and her sister had to leave home.

Cold bedroom

My mother told me that being in service was very hard.  Her bedroom at the top of the house used to be so cold.  She started as a scullery maid and finished as head cook and housekeeper.  She was taken home every 8 weeks by her employers and given money for her family.  She had to buy the material and make her own aprons and dresses.  Mother was a wonderful dress maker for us two girls, especially on Maypole days.  This was when my sister and I used to be chosen for our village green.

Good behaviour

How blessed we were to have and learn so much from her.  We were loved but we had to know our manners and keep ourselves clean and not to drop our aitches.

This page was added by jon hildreth on 27/03/2008.

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