Monday used to be wash day in the 1940s in Minnesota

In today's "Neighbors" column, a reader remembers helping get water for his mother to do the laundry with a Maytag washer and homemade soap.

Bob Lind
Bob Lind, Neighbors columnist. The Forum

Do you remember when Monday was the day the clothes got washed?

Dennis Borgen sure does.

Dennis, of Moorhead, writes “Neighbors” that “Monday was wash day in Viding Township, northeast of Georgetown, Minn.

“On Monday mornings, back around 1945, my older brother, Curt, and I would place two 10-gallon cream cans in a wagon and head for the well,” Dennis writes. “We pumped water into the cans, put them back in the wagon and walked to the house with one of us pulling and the other balancing the cans. This took two trips.

“Our farmhouse had an outside entrance to the basement. In the winter, the Maytag washer was used in the basement, and in the summer, it sat outside.


“Curt and l heated the water on a two-burner gas stove and filled the washing machine.

“About halfway through the wash cycle, the Maytag engine would stop, because there was too much oil on the spark plug. Curt and I would use wood matches to dry it off, and after kick-starting it until our legs felt like rubber, it would finally start.

“By then, the water was cold, but my mother ( Lillian Borgen) still finished the job. I also remember her shaving homemade soap into the machine.

“A couple of years later I caught her doing the chicken dance around the washing machine when she began using the new store-bought P&G Ivory Soap Flakes that had just come out.

“My mother used two tubs for rinsing. She would then hang the clothes on a clothesline to dry.

“In the winter, we would come home from school and bring in the frozen clothes that were hanging outside. We would then hang them on lines that were strung throughout the inside of our house, and set the suspender overalls against the wall until they wilted. It smelled like a spring day!

“My mother, who was born in 1896, had 11 children, and she was tough as a whale bone,” Dennis says. “Take my word for it.

We sure will, Dennis.


RELATED COLUMNS: The lure of the railroads was too much for this minister In today's "Neighbors" column, Bob Lind hears from a frequent reader about Bob Bye, a clergyman who became a locomotive engineer.
| 'Would of' and other strange wording that too many people seem to use In today's "Neighbors" column, Bob Lind also hears from a reader about her mother's contributions to her local weekly newspaper.
| A few stellar headlines from Dale, one of the best headline writers in the business In today's "Neighbors" column, Bob Lind shares the former editor's witty way of summarizing some unusual or surprising articles in the newspaper.
| This longtime Moorhead teacher graduated from a former consolidated school In today's "Neighbors" column, Bob Lind hears from a man who made a big impact on junior high students in the region and also found time to work at Straus for several years.
| More tasty memories of Fargo's former pizza places In today's "Neighbors" column, Bob Lind shares readers' greasy, delicious stories of spots where everyone got a slice or two back in the day.

Plea for Maris

Fans of former New York Yankee Roger Maris were on cloud nine as they swarmed around him seeking his autograph June 23, 1984, at West Acres Shopping Center. Forum file photo
Fans of former New York Yankee Roger Maris were on cloud nine as they swarmed around him seeking his autograph June 23, 1984, at West Acres Shopping Center. Forum file photo

Come on, Baseball Hall of Fame, get Roger Maris in there!

So says Tom Hintgen, Fergus Falls, Minn.

“It’s sad,” Tom writes "Neighbors," “that this New York Yankee and St. Louis Cardinal superstar, two-time American League most valuable player, seven-time American League all-star, a member of seven World Series teams, three-time World Series championship team member, gold glove outfielder and the man who broke Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record in 1961 remains absent from the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

“I’m referring, of course, to this Fargo native, who also was an outstanding football player at Shanley High School in Fargo.

“Roger was a great family man with his wife, Pat, and their six children,” Tom says.


“He left us much too soon of cancer at age 51 in 1985.

“Even though he’s not recognized as a Baseball Hall of Fame member, he will remain a hall of famer in the hearts of millions of his fans across the nation.”

Many baseball fans agree with Tom on this.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email

What To Read Next
Get Local