The Good Ol’ Days?

Yesterday I returned from that classic DC summer ritual, the long weekend at the beach. Congratulating myself for the foresight of taking today off to clean in preparation for a mid-week house guest, I set out to battle against acres of dust, piles of dirty laundry, stale air, and the usual minefield of cat hairballs.

Several hours later, sweaty and frustrated, I’m still at it.

When you have an old house, cleaning eventually vanquishes you. You endlessly run up and down stairs with buckets of cleaner, finding all the little presents your cats left you. Somehow even more dust descends the second you turn off the vacuum. So I find myself thinking of the first owner, Mrs. Campbell (we found her calling card once in the space behind the pocket doors), and how the hell she must have managed.

If I complain about cleaning the house, scampering about in a little sundress and sneakers, how did she do it in 1890’s full regalia – underdress, corset, petticoats, wool dress, laced up boots, long hair (real and false) piled high? And there was even more dust in those days – our house was at one time equipped with a “modern” coal system venting hot air into the rooms, leaving a nice film of soot to clean every day. Wool carpets, heavy draperies, all the tchotchkes of Victorian life – it’s a wonder those people could breathe!

All the moaning we do about how hot it is, and we have the luxury of CAC to escape to!

Were they all just tougher than we are today?

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

As one of the founding editors of We Love DC, Jenn’s passions are theater and cocktails. After two decades in the city, she’s loved every quirky, mundane, elegant, rude minute of her DC life. A proud advocate for DC’s talented drinks scene, she’s judged the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s ARTINI contest, the DC Rickey Month contest, the Jefferson Hotel’s Quill Cocktail competition, and is a founding member of LUPEC DC. A graduate of Catholic University’s drama program, she toured the country as a member of National Players, and has been both an actor and a costume designer before jumping the aisle to theater criticism. Writing for We Love DC restored her happiness after a life-threatening illness, and she’s grateful to you, dear readers. Send your suggestions to jenn (at) welovedc (dot) com and follow her on Twitter.

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