Cleanliness is supposed to be next to Godliness. So except for my bedroom, I was in pretty high standing. And hopefully my Cinderella duties whitewashed any occasional (frequent) slip-ups here and there.
Mom worked full-time and hurried to prepare supper when she got home. Although our bedrooms were finished upstairs, our living room and kitchen were still in the basement.
After school, my job was to load and unload the portable dishwasher. Although I sporadically washed the items that couldn’t go in the dishwasher, I usually just consolidated them in the most economical way possible. I voluntarily did some ironing, laundry, and periodic dusting.
Now here’s the cleaning effort that elevated me above my transgressions. Every few weeks, I surprised Mom by vacuuming, mopping, and waxing the brown linoleum floor in our living room, dining room, kitchen, and hallway. We’re talking lots of square footage.I pretended I was Cinderella, waxing each tile on my hands and knees. Two throw pillows cushioned my knobby knee bones. Once the wax dried, I resumed my Cinderella position and buffed each square with a rag.
The floor sparkled, but was slippery to walk on. I warned Great-Aunt Mary so she could hug the walls and furniture as she tentatively made her way to the sofa. Daddy-O needed a warning too.
A couple of times, David and I continued buffing with two giant stuffed seals handed down from Aunt Nellie. We resurrected them from the land of old stuffed animals. We’d get a running start and slide across the slippery floor on their backs.
One day, Susan lay curled in a blanket on the floor. I grabbed the corners and pulled her around the floor a few times. She thought it was fun and wanted more. David and I took turns pulling her around before settling down to watch some television.
“Do it again,” begged Susan.
“No. We already did it a hundred times,” I answered.
“Please, just one more time. I promise I won’t ask again.”
“That’s what you said last time.”
David and I each took two corners and dragged her across the floor, over a hassock, across a sofa, back over the hassock, played crack the whip, and deposited her up onto another sofa. That ought to put an end to her ride whining.
She sat dizzily, blinked her eyes, and said, “Do it again.”
Once, after vacuuming, David and I had a squirt gun fight before I mopped. Afterward, he wiped wet spots off the furniture while I mopped. A squirt gun fight indoors was off-limits, even in our crazy house … unless Dad started it.
“Thank you for cleaning the floors,” said Mom when she got home. “You don’t know how much I appreciate it.”
“David helped me with the mopping this time,” I said.
Mom hugged us. David and I exchanged smiles.
Lesson learned: A good deed is good regardless of how the floor got mopped or polished.
Related Post: Chapter Three: The Pranksters
Now it’s your turn: What were your childhood chores?
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