In the Appendix of Things My Mother Used to Make (1912), there is an article titled “The Proper Way to Sweep a Room.”
Since it is March and spring cleaning is on my mind — notice I did not say on my calendar — I decided to read it. After all, if there is a proper way to sweep a room, perhaps I need to learn about it.
And so, I read …
Here are a couple things that I found interesting …
Wet newspaper pieces spread over the carpet? I suppose they will act like fine dust magnets attracting the dust as it rises out of the carpet as you sweep. Ingenious. I’d have a problem doing this today since we quit taking the newspaper years ago with the advent of the internet.
“When the dust is settled . . .” Hmmm. I’m thinking it might be a good time to take a break while waiting for that dust to settle. After all, those drapes will have to be rehung and all that furniture moved back.
So what are mop boards? That’s a new one for me.
Well, I’m pretty sure it is a reference to what I know as the baseboard, but I’m puzzled by the reference to finger marks on it. So, like anyone wanting to know anything in the 21st century would do, I google: mopboard. Yep, It is the baseboard. So now I’m wondering how finger marks got on the mop boards?
I’m partly amused, partly amazed, but mostly I profoundly aware of how different my life is from the one my great-greats lived. And I’ve a newfound appreciation for my cordless Dyson!
Oh… and be sure to read the last line of the article!
Note to teacher-self:
Use the text with mopboard for vocabulary and context clues.
Use the descriptive text for cleaning the carpet and an advertisement copy for Dyson vacuums as two pieces for students to compare and contrast.