Joining the kitchen gang

A childhood recollection of the “correct” way of doing the dishes. One sink of warm soapy, one sink of water as hot as you could stand. A designated washer, a designated dryer, and a “putter awayer”. And adults of the house in the furthest room to ignore the arguments.

“There’s still dirt on this fork” the accusations would start. “Well, wipe it off, you’ve got a tea towel”, leading to mumbling or once the tea towel holder learnt about the power of the tea towel flick, the howl – “mum! I’m telling mum on you!” – and the loud silence from the adults as the “Rhinestone Cowboy” was turned up another notch on the amplifier volume knob.

The putter awayer might start with – “you’re going too slow, I’ve got nothing to do”, which would be the opening to the next round of accusation and counter-accusation.

The order was all important – glasses, crockery (from least dirty to most dirty – preferably well scraped before we started), cutlery and finally the pots with the dirtiest left til last as the soapy water became a murkier and murkier mix – and was always honoured by being passed down to each new child who joined the kitchen gang.


Written from a prompt:
“Cleaning: Hey, even writers and creative artists have to do housework sometimes. Write about doing laundry, dishes, and other cleaning activities.”

we have detail of childhood recollection. The “loud silence” phrasing is likely to be reused in some future writing


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