The technology of the Jetsons now lives

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Dixie Divas

The new washer and dryer set that arrived to take up residence in my laundry room looks like it was sent over from George and Jane Jetson’s home in the outer galaxy.

As a kid growing up, the Jetsons were my favorite cartoon family. I was mesmerized by flat screen televisions that hung from the ceiling, phone calls where George and Mr. Spacely could talk to each other via video and vacuums that robotically worked without human guidance.

And now all of that has come to pass. Some of that outer space technology even resides in my house.

The fact that I even have a new washer and dryer, I blame on my brother-in-law, Rodney. “No one,” he reported authoritatively, “moves their washer and dryer to a new house. Buy new ones.”

So, I set out to buy a new set and found everyone offering advice along the way. No one had bothered to interject an opinion on stoves, dishwashers or refrigerators but not so with washers and dryers.

“Oh, you have to get those new front-loading washing machines,” Debbie opined.

“Do you know how much those things cost?” I asked, still incredulous at the price tags I had seen.

“But they’re worth it.”

“They cost two or three times what a normal washer and dryer cost,” I continued, unwilling to get past the price and see any real value.

“Yeah, but they’re wonderful,” Debbie replied dreamily, using the same kind of voice that most women use when talking about new clothes. Debbie, however, is a fan of technology. “As soon as I can find a reason to get rid of ours, we’re going to buy a set.”

Repeatedly, others encouraged me to do the same. It came from folks who own front-load washers and those who merely dream of such an acquisition. It wasn’t public opinion that swayed me. It was my love for the Jetsons. I wanted one that looked like Jane Jetson would own it.

“Could I just pull a chair in here and watch it work?” asked Patti. She’d rather have household technology than a pretty pair of shoes, which is something I’ll never understand.

It’s a far cry from the old wringer washing machine that my grandmother had, the one that set out on her back porch in that old, simple farmhouse up in the mountains. At 6 years old, I was fascinated as I watched her pull clothes from the tub then piece by piece feed them through the rollers to squeeze the water out.

“At home, we’ve got a washer that wrings the clothes out by itself,” I informed her.

She nodded. “That’s good.” She smoothed her straggled hair back toward the severe bun she always wore and dried her work-hardened hands on the faded flowered apron that she had sewn from an old flour sack. “I ain’t complainin’ one iota. It’s a whole sight better than that ol’ scrub board I used down at the creek when my kids were young’uns.”

I was quite fascinated by that odd-looking washing machine so as soon as Maw-maw’s back was turned, I grabbed a towel and proceeded to feed it through the wringers. All was going fine until those over eager wringers grabbed my little hand and pulled my arm in, all the way up to the elbow.

“Curiosity kills a cat,” she commented dryly as she unplugged the washer then set about freeing my arm from the contraption.

It’s that same curiosity that eventually convinced me to buy a duplicate of the Jetsons’ washer and dryer. It’s a long way advanced from that wringer washer, not to mention the manual scrub board and creek water.

And, while it may be able to wash clothes with 21st century technology, thank goodness it doesn’t wash away those childhood memories.

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