We were living at Gifft Hill at the time and were lucky to actually have a concrete cistern, even though it was only 600 gallons. (There's more about our cistern here. It has quite a history.)
During the drought we learned how to conserve water. For a while Mom was able to do laundry on the usual Saturday. Before Dad went off to work he'd started up the generator so Mom could use the ringer washer. It also meant my sister Erva and I could listen to Story Hour on the radio.
Next to the washer was a big galvanized tub for rinsing the clothes. Mom washed the whites first, like sheets and underwear. They got put through the wringer and fed into the tub to get rinsed by being sloshed around by hand. Then they got put through the wringer again and were hung out on the line. The next batch of clothes were lights and got washed and rinsed in the same water as the whites. Sometimes she could get three loads done in the white water before she drained it out onto plants and put the rinse water in the washer. But I think most of the time it was two load before she switched out the water. Anyway that last clothes to get washed were Dad's greasy mechanic work clothes.
Realize all that water was siphoned out of the cistern and into buckets that were then poured into the washer and tub. You can see the hose in this picture filling a large enamel pot. (Erva still has it!) See that plant in the center front? It's a baby papaya. Over to the right on the ground is the rinse tub. This was not only our laundry area, it was where we took our "baths."
See that quart jar by the red basin? That's how much water we used to take a bath. We'd pour a little water into the basin and wet down a wash cloth and get it all soapy. We'd use that little bit of soapy water to wet down and then scrub ourselves clean. The rest of the water in the quart was used to rinse off using another wash cloth.
Yes. A person can get clean in a quart of water.
There came a point though, when we could no longer do the laundry. But that's a story for next week, when you'll met Nora and Steve and their three dogs.