Thursdays were wash days at Bon Jellico. In the winter the water was
heated on the coal stove or in the stove reservoir. It was then
poured into two round washtubs. The scrub tub was equipped with a
scrub board and a cake of soap, usually homemade lye-soap. After the
scrubbing, white clothes were boiled in a small pan on the stove.
After 10-15 minutes of boiling these clothes were rinsed in the
second tub, wrung out and hung on lines temporarily strung in the
kitchen and bedrooms.
In summer the tubs
were positioned on the back porch or under a tree. A cast iron pot
was placed over a fire that was built in the back yard. Here the
water was heated and the clothes were washed, boiled and hung on
outside lines to dry.
The grown daughters
and young wives who lived near the powerplant carried tubs, clothes
and soap to the powerhouse yard. The water that came from the
powerplant pipes was hot and ready to be used. Uncle Alex Nunley
would let the women use this water for washing, boiling and rinsing
their clothes. The young women used this time together not only to
work but to share news, gossip and play tricks on each other. They
then carried the clean clothes home to be hung on clotheslines to
sheets and pillowcases that have been kissed by the sun give off a
fragrance that can linger in the mind for many years.