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Buying all the bells and whistles

In the Light

I had to purchase a new washer and dryer.

Okay, not exactly mind-boggling news.

Although there were mind-boggling prices for new (and improved) machines to wash and dry clothes.

I’m used to buying music. Maybe clothes (sometimes).



For the prices on these washer and dryer things you’d think they made you breakfast and read bedtime stories to you.

My old washer and dryer were made in 1950-something. Sears. Kenmore.

Back when Kenmore meant something.

Back when men were men and you best not forget that.

My washer and dryer had been around for 60-plus years and still got my whites white and wet clothes dry.

Kenmores were engineered and built by people who were making tanks and stuff before they took to building household appliances; built by people who won World War II.

You want clean clothes? Not a problem.

They beat Mussolini like a tied up goat, kicked Nazi butt, and set the sun on the Empire of Japan, so you bet they could come up with something as simple as a washing machine and a dryer.

And they were made in the good ole U.S. of A. so you knew it was patriotic to wear clean (and dry) articles of clothing.

Just turn those babies on and take a nap.

And if of those Commie SOBs come knocking at your door they’d send them to the nether regions of Hades without so much as a by-your-leave.

You knew your household appliances were built by people who just wanted something that worked and worked hard.

How else do you explain those wonderful colors, Harvest Gold and Avocado?

Colors were the last thing on their minds. It’s lucky those things didn’t come in flat olive drab.

My new washer and dryer look like something from a science fiction movie and have all the bells and whistles any person could want (if they want clean clothes and a latte at the same time).

And they’re made ... Someplace I’ve never visited.

Nambia or China or something like that.

The washer has more cycles than the Tour de France.

The dryer comes with a steamer.

A steamer! Dryers are supposed to dry clothes, not make them soggy.

It has a setting for any imaginable wet clothes circumstance you can think of.

Even some that sound made up.

One glove, left hand, soaking wet.

You betcha.

Socks, with holes and elastic.

No worries.

Wrinkle free underdrawers.

It’s covered.

My old Kenmore washer had two settings: Clean (cold water) and really clean (hot water).

My old dryer had two settings as well. Dry and permanent press. I never used the permanent press, but I assumed it worked.

And worked danged well.

I could have put wheels on my Kenmore washer and dryer and used them as armored vehicles.

My new ones? Not so much. Maybe run them in a soap box derby.

My Kenmores were listed for $494 for the pair in 1953.

I couldn’t buy the space-age looking door for my new dryer with a mere $494.

Maybe the handle, but definitely not the door.

But my new washer and dryer come with five-year guarantees.

Yeah, whoo-hoo! Five years!

If you hadn’t invaded a small South American country or put down a communist insurgency with your 1953 Kenmores within five years after purchase it was thought you were: 1) Chicken; 2) waiting to invade Canada; 3) had too many clothes to wash and dry, or 4) just not getting your money’s worth.

Or maybe you were too busy napping.

Those babies were guaranteed for life — as long as you were the original owner (there’s always a catch).

So, what happened to my Kenmores?

My dryer started making a racket.

Like it was possessed or something. Thump, whang, thump, whaaaaaang, thump whang, thump, whaaaaaang … and so forth and so on.

Hard to put your clothes in the dryer and take a nap when the dryer sounds like it’s getting ready to launch into orbit.

After 60-plus years that’s gonna happen.

My washer quit agitating and spinning.

Hey, even Sherman tanks lost a transmission or two after 10 or 15 battles.

It happens.

Just ask General Patton.

I looked up getting parts for the things, but all that were available were some plastic pieces made in Taiwan or Yugoslavia.

They did, however, come with 15-day guarantees.

My Kenmores also came with manuals: Hook up the hoses (washer only), plug it in, wash clothes and/or dry clothes.

Take a nap.

And it was printed in one language: English.

You want a manual in French?

Go to France and buy the washer and dryer.

My new washer and dryer have manuals as well.

They’re about 400 pages thick and they’re printed in four different languages.

Four! I’m not sure which language tells me how to use all the bells and whistles, how to make a latte while I wait.

I’m still waiting for the layman’s version to come out.