St. Cloud Times from Saint Cloud, Minnesota on April 9, 2005 · Page 23
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St. Cloud Times from Saint Cloud, Minnesota · Page 23

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Saint Cloud, Minnesota
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Saturday, April 9, 2005
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Page 23
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Saturday, April 9, 2005 Life St Cloud Times 3C Perceptions of spring cleaning have changed through the years In her April 22, 2004 column for Agri-News, Marianne Bianchi described modern spring cleaning like this: "Spring cleaning is that time of the year when you're sick and tired of being inside; it's a filler. Something to keep you sane between winter and indoor activities and the great outdoors. A time to keep yourself occupied before you make a mistake and uncover perennials too soon ... so you throw your whole self into cleaning out or cleaning off something." Early Central Minnesota pioneer women did not see spring cleaning quite the same way. During the winter months in pioneer homes, doors and windows remained closed and sealed from bitter outside wind and cold air. When spring weather welcomed open windows and natural light, accumulations of dirt suddenly became visible and unbearable. Must-do job Spring cleaning in pioneer days was a ritual and it had to be done. Kerosene lamps, coal burning furnaces and wood-burning stoves spewed soot and grime onto walls and into furniture and textiles. . Great accumulations of mixtures of snow, mud and manure from shoes and boots built up on wood floors. Curtains, bedding and rugs smelled from being in hot, closed quarters. Kitchen smells and vapors seeped into everything. A book called "The Home: How to Make and Keep It," by Mrs. Henry Ward Beecher, published in Minneapolis in 1883, says spring cleaning was not a task women looked forward to. One young wife is quoted: "Last year I thought housecleaning would be 'real fun'; I had never before taken the entire charge of such extensive operations, and thought, in my simplicity, that I would show the old ladies how a young housekeeper would walk through the fiery furnace with not even the smell of fire upon her garments. But I dreamed little what I had undertaken. I found out however. ... Now, in this my second year of housekeeping, I look forward to the 'spring clean- " h t: .,. Marilyn Salzl Brinkman Times history columnist ing with the greatest repugnance, gladly enduring all the cold, the winds and storms of early spring, because they postponed the evil day. But now milder weather and warmer suns are upon us, and this great nuisance may be no longer deferred. How I dread it! No regularity; all rules abolished. Oh dear, what shall I do?" Tackling the jobs Beecher recommended starting in the cellar. "Clean the coal bin then have it filled with new coal for next winter. Remove ashes and clean the furnace. Sweep the cellar floor, maybe even scrub it clean," she wrote. Next came the windows. This involved washing them with warm, sudsy water fortified with spirits of ammonia. Then, it was time to shake out and put winter wool clothing into trunks with camphor, cedar chips, sandalwood or other moth protection. This job was time consum ing and tedious. ' After that, "dust the walls and whitewash them," Beecher said. "Wash the chimneys and gas lamp shades. Clean chairs and sofas with a furniture button brush. ... Clean the rugs, especially the corners where moths love to congregate. ... Clean the bedrooms and strip the beds to the bedsteads to remove dust and lint" Outdoor work And a woman had only to look out the door to see the work she must do outside the house. Clara Symanietz, St Stephen, said in a 1984 interview that she and her children did all the work around the buildings because her husband, Vince, was out in the fields in summer and the woods in winter. "I don't think he could have drove a post in the ground without me," she said. For her, spring cleaning was merely an extension of the work she did all year long and she "was always able to fit it in. ... There was no other way," she said. "You hadtodoit" This column is the opinion of Marilyn Salzl Brinkman. Write to her at the St. Cloud Times, P.O. Box 768, St. Cloud, MN 56302. "1 . uuide fill .will J j - . -c Every ThurscL, Find the all r. . locations thrci IQnlintAywmMtoesxomupnM ". Cloud Times. :et EDITION at Cloud area. From Page 1C Oddjobs 3-by-5 card at the grocery or in a traditional newspaper help-wanted ad. "On our site," Lagrone said, "there's plenty of space, so people can elaborate. And on top of that many of these outrageous shops have profiles. And so that just gives you that much more confidence that this listing is real." Take a spin through the OutRa- GeouS listings (go to www.tribe. net; it's under jobs") and it's obvious not everything there is serious. Some of the ads are there for laughs. There was one seeking a midget albino hermaphrodite to work as a pet-sitter. There's one for a butt-hair plucker. Another is from a group called The Rainbow Connection, which describes itself as "a posse looking for a leader." 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