I am now working the summer schedule for Old World Wisconsin. I am still at St. Peter’s Church playing the pump organ and singing to the rafters on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. I am also working at the Hafford house on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Mary Hafford was an Irish immigrant who came to the U.S. with her husband and son, living first in New Jersey and then settling in Wisconsin where she had family members who had also moved there. She had two more children here, and then, at the age of 36, she was widowed. Her husband had worked on the railroad and owned no land or property. She could neither read nor write. Somehow, she had assets (possibly from a railroad company’s pension plan?) amounting to $500, twice the average for the village where she lived. She spent $150 to buy two lots in a rural village where she had been renting lodgings. Presumably, there was a dwelling on that lot, a worker’s cottage. She took in laundry and did the washing, ironing, and mending from her home so that she could look after her children. By the time she was 53, in the year 1885, she was able to hire carpenters to upgrade her house to a more respectable cottage. This home is the one that is now on Old World Wisconsin property, right next to St. Peter’s Church. It has one large room (combination kitchen, dining room, living room) with a small bedroom and a pantry on the ground floor and two bedrooms upstairs. It has a kitchen garden in which is growing lavender, sage, rosemary, alpine strawberries, thyme, and other fragrant herbs. The wash tubs and clothesline are set up outside so that visitors (kids, mostly) can try their hand at washing without electricity or plumbing. The laundering process in the 19th century could take up 3 days of the week. For Mrs. Hafford, it would probably be 6 days a week. Soaking, boiling, spot treating with lye soap, scrubbing on the washboard and rinsing would require multiple trips to the pump with two large buckets. One article estimated that women carried 400 lbs. of water in a week for laundry. After the clothes were dry, she would heat the irons on her wood stove and press them. One of the irons we have weighs 6 lbs, though it’s only about 5 inches long. I get the feeling this woman had no need for a gym membership. She pumped iron, literally, at home often enough! So this is the story I interpret for visitors. When there are no guests to chat with, I sit in the rocker and crochet rag rugs. I just learned this skill last week. I pass the time wondering what it would be like to be unable to read and write. Yesterday was my first day in this position. Sorry I didn’t post a blog entry, friends, I was just too tired and hungry and out of time by the end of my day! Here are some photos to whet your appetite. More to come!