The New Hoover

James L. Cowles

Copyright 2021 by James L. Cowles


                      Mom circa 1925

     I remember the day mom got her first vacuum cleaner. It was a Hoover canister, with all the attachments she would ever need. Good-House-Keeping had endorsed it and that was a major factor in those days. It was the early 1950s and I was ten or eleven years old at the time.

     In those days the salesman came door to door and began his sales pitch on the front porch, hoping to gain entrance for a demonstration. I'm pretty sure mom knew he was in the neighborhood and she was ready for him when he showed.  Back in 1950, not everyone in the neighborhood had a phone, but the backyard, "over the fence " communication system, was in full force and faster than a speeding train.

     The salesman had no sooner knocked on the door, than mom was inviting him in. He must have known he had a sale, but to his credit, he gave a very thorough demonstration anyway. This thing was high tech in those days and I was amazed at what it could do. I did worry that I might be the one having to use it, but I did not have to be concerned. In fact, that vacuum cleaner became mom's baby and she wanted to be sure it stayed in good shape. No telling what a young boy might do to test it, so the times I used it, I did so under her direct supervision.

     In those days, mom had very few conveniences. Our small, four rooms and a bath house had linoleum on every floor, each one with a different pattern. She swept the entire hose with a broom purchased from the local Five & Dime store. The house was heated by a coal stove and on very cold nights, the kitchen stove, which was another of mom's conveniences. At least she thought so.  The little Frigidaire was crammed full and often needed defrosting, another of mom's many jobs.  She probably thought it was an asset, because I remember when we had nothing but an ice box. I can still hear the ice man announcing his presence in our kitchen.  He was there at least once, sometimes twice a week.

     I don't know how mom managed, but she did. My three sisters wore clothes made by my mother on her foot operated sewing machine. It was NOT electric, in fact, she never had that luxury. I remember the day she ran a needle through her finger. She had a look of pain on her face, but no tears. She simply doused it with Iodine, put a Band-aid on it and continued sewing.

     Mom was elated the day the living room and front bedroom linoleum was removed and the floors underneath sanded and stained. It took the house up a step and my mother's pride right along with it. When we got the floor furnace installed, she was pleased her family would be kept a lot toastier during our cold Kentucky winters.

     Our little house had few amenities and as I look back, it makes me sad to think of how hard my mother had to work for our family, and how few conveniences she had to help her with all of her duties. She passed in November of '63 and never saw all the marvelous things that have come along.  Mom, you were an amazing woman and mother, and I love you. I know you were never able to see some of the marvelous inventions that would have made your life easier and it makes me wonder about those wondrous things that will come after my life is passed.-

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