I’ve been thinking about this one for a while. It really hit home when Jon had his surgery and I was doing just about everything that needed to be done around the house and farm as well as taking care of Jon. It seemed no matter how many times I washed the dishes, the sink was always full of them.
It was around that time that I was also reading All The Frequent Troubles of Our Days. The subject of this book doesn’t compare to my complaints about the dishes. Or anything else in my life. It’s the story of Mildred Harnack, an American woman who lived in Germany and led a resistance group against the Nazis.
I have to admit I put the book down when Mildred got arrested. Right now (or maybe ever) I don’t feel up to reading about the details of her imprisonment and execution by the Nazis.
Even before she became involved with the Resistance, Mildred was an unusual and Independent woman. The book was written by Harnack’s great-great-niece, Rebecca Donner. Harnack was a writer, translator, lecturer, and teacher. And not at all interested in being domestic. Donner writes about how Mildred would let the dishes “accumulate… for days before she notices them, a teetering tower of plates ad cups and cutlery.” “There are always better things to do than the dishes.”
Even when Mildred had become a spy for the Resistance, her husband, who was also a spy for the Resistance, complained that she didn’t keep the house clean.
Although I can’t compare my life to Mildred Harnaks, I do find it kind of incredible that I can relate to her in this way. Of course, it’s about more than just the dishes. It’s the idea of the gender roles we’re supposed to fit into. And as far as we’ve come, so many of us still find ourselves either being expected by others, or by ourselves to fit into them.
I’m fortunate in my relationship with Jon. From the beginning he never expected me to do the cooking and cleaning. But I still have a hard time walking past a sink full of dishes as I head off to work in the morning.
I’m working on it though.
After making the drawing in pencil, I drew it with my sewing machine. I used the drawing as a reference as I sewed.
I’m just about done with this. I was thinking of filling in the letters so they stand out more. I was also thinking it would make a good magnet.