A. Varesano interviewing Anna Timko
219 for washing clothes, like when rubbing on the washboard, well your hands
would get irritated from it. It was strong, you know, the lye made it strong
AV: Was that the kind that you put in the boilers?
AT: Yes. Well, you could buy soap, too, but most people, you know, they used to
do things, because you did all your cooking, you know, then you had the grease.
Instead of throwing it out, you know, you'd save that. When you'd get enough,
you made soap. Not everybody did. Some people did, some people didn't even
225 know how to do it. They had ideas for everything!
AV: That's right! They did! Well, now, do you remember having a bake oven?
AT: No, we didn't have any. My mother had none, and I didn't have any. There was
one across the street here, but it wasn't used already when I come to live
here. And then they took it apart. It was out of bricks, so they tore it apart,
because, I don't know for what reason. They never used it. I never
seen them used, either, because my mother didn't have any. There were lots
in town though. There were a lot of bake ovens in town.
AV: Where were they located?
AT: Outside, in the back of the yard. That's why so many of them think that this
is a bake oven, you know, because that's how they used to have it, back here.
One up here, up above here, there waw one til, oh, I don't know, oh, it's a
number of years, I guess, I would say, but I mean that it was there for a long
time when I was living here already, but they weren't using it.
AV: What did it look like?
AT: Well, it was, how shall I explain it to you? I don't even know how. It was
built up, you know, pretty high, out of bricks they usually used to make it.
And then they had a big, heavy, sheet iron inside of it. You know, and then
they used to burn wood in that, to make it hot, and then when they thought it
was hot enough, they'd pull that wood to the side and they used to put their
bread in there to bake. See, like they used to keep boarders and everything,
well, they needed a lot of baking, so how could you be able to do it in the
stove like that? So, a great many people had those bake ovens. My mother
never had any, and I really never seen really how it was done, but I heard
then saying, you know, that you had to burn a lot of wood, and then this
heavy iron. I guess they used to have this heavy sheet irons, like on the
coal cars that used to go in the mines. So, did they get them from there, or
did they buy them, or what, I don't know. Because in them days they could
get most anything, you know. You could pick it up anywhere, because the
working conditions were here, they used that stuff, and say if the car was
bad or something, maybe they left it on the side there where you could pick
this thing up for yourself. But whether they got it tht way, or whether they
bought it, I don't know.
AV: You think it mght have been the bottom of a mine car?
AT: I don't know whether it would be the bottom, or is it the side, or what it was,
I don't know. I couldn't tell you exactly what it was. But it was real heavey
iron, it wouldn't bend, it was real heavy and would stay solid. Say, it was
like this table, and it was a big piece, and they had that in there, and
they'd put this wood on there, and light this wood and burn the wood, you
AV: It was big like this table?
AT: Well, it depends on the size of the bake oven. But they were big. Well not
exactly like that table, but probably, it must have been over half of this
table, I guess it must have been. And they burned the wood in there and get
that sheet iron real hot, and then they used to pull that wood aside and put
they board there, you know, where the fire was. Whether they outened the coals,
I mean let them go out, or whether they still had them, they must have
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