April 1, 2013

Seniors share memories of spring cleaning

PLATTSBURGH — As winter becomes a memory and thoughts of warmer weather come to mind, many people also think about spring cleaning.

Even though we have electric vacuum cleaners and robotic sweepers, there’s no magic wand to wave that will take down winter’s dust webs and wash the windows and walls.

Talk to seniors about spring cleaning, and the older they are, the more laborious are their memories of that spring ritual.

At Lake Forest Senior Living Community, Nancy Collin, 87; Mary Lue Gould, 78; Betty Gregory, 92; and Joan Clarke, 84, shared a variety of memories, from washing curtains to wallpapering to changing the bedspread each spring.


“We always had summer and winter curtains,” Mary Lue said. “The lace curtains would come down, be washed, and then my mother would stretch them on the curtain stretcher while they were still wet. 

“They never needed ironing. It was also my job as a kid to wash and clean the front and back porches.”

Betty said that at her house it was like each room was turned inside out.

“Most of our walls were wallpapered back then,” she remembered. “My mother’s sister would come to help. They would wallpaper every room before they were done, including some of the ceilings. I can still see them walking from chair to chair, with their hands over their heads, holding the wallpaper to the ceiling, and laughing all the time. 

“They made their own wallpaper paste, too.”


Spring cleaning can also mean just moving a few things around.

“I don’t say I spring clean but I change things around,” Nancy said.  “I have a beautiful heavy bedspread that was my grandmother’s. That’s on my bed all winter.

“When I think spring is coming, I take it off and put on my summer spread. I’m thinking it may come off by April 1st this year. 

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