Monday, March 1, 2010

MAKING GAME OF HOUSEWORK, part 2 of 2; Helen Waite Munro (1922)

The next day I saw that the spirit of play was carried into many branches of the family life. Such happy co-operation made the housework a pleasure. The routine went on as if by magic. The clean clothes from the bars were imagined to be presents from a Christmas tree and each child took his or her own as they were removed and laid them carefully away in the proper drawer. While Eddie filled the woodbox the girls did the dusting to the tune of Buy a Broom and the following words:

"We're merry little lassies,
A-dusting, a-dusting,
We're merry little lassies,
A-dusting away.

The morning work was finished with making the beds to the tune of Marching Through Georgia.

"Spread the sheets up smoothly, folks, and tuck the edges tight;
Never leave a wrinkle or we'll feel it in the night;
Smooth the covers straight and square and place the pillows right
When all the beds we are making!

Hurrah! Hurrah! We'll make the beds just so.
Hurrah! Hurrah! We learned it long ago.
We may not be so very big but we surely are not slow,
While all the beds we are making."

They gathered around me happily before they went out-door to play.

"You surely are a set of happy helpers," I told them. "Do you have a song for everything you do?"

"Pretty nearly," Marion replied. "Want us to sing you the one we have when Mother lets up help with the washing?"

So they began together to the tune of Tramp, Tramp, Tramp:

"To the kitchen we will go,
Make the clothes as white as snow
Then we'll hang them out to dry upon the line.
Every piece all clean and neat;
Sunshine makes them smell so sweet,
We are happy when we see the weather's fine.

Splash, splash, splash, we all are washing!
Soaping, scrubbing, wringing too!
Hanging on the line to dry
So we'll iron by and by;
Washing is the nicest work that we can do."

Then with eyes dancing merrily they whispered together a moment.

"We have one more, and that's a funny one," Eddie announced. "Do you know 'K-K-K-Katie'? Well, that's the tune of this one."

Hopping about to keep time to the lively tune, they began:

'Mother makes the most squshious things to eat,
Doughnuts, cakes with frosting nice and sweet,
Pie and bread and tarts, but the best we all can say
Comes when Mother bakes on Cookie Day.

C-c-c-cookies, beautiful cookies,
Never had such spicy, crispy ones before!
When you are baking you smell so inviting
We can hardly stay outside the oven door."

Before they finished they had drawn their mother and me into their circle and danced us to the kitchen where Eddie pulled into the center of the ring a big brown jar. And from its contents, the results of Cookie Day, the three singing helpers claimed their reward.