A few months ago, I did an interview where one of the questions was what modern day convenience would I miss most if I lived in the 1800's. My initial thought was the washing machine. Then I thought about the vacuum, the dishwasher, the refrigerator, heat and running water and my answer to the question became clear. I would miss electricity.
Most of you know that I'm a stay-at-home mom. My days are spent at the computer working on my current novel, but I have other chores to keep me busy. Laundry, cooking and cleaning are just a few. While I can fantasize about living on a ranch with a hunky cowboy for a husband, I cannot fathom completing my housekeeping chores without electricity.
To wash clothes, women had to haul water from the creek, heat it over the fire and then use a scrub board to get denim and calico clean. It's much easier to dump the clothes into a steel drum, add the soap, turn the dial and let the machine take care of the rest. As for cooking on a cast iron stove or over a fireplace, I wouldn't want to do that, either. Modern stoves that again work with a turn of the dial are much more to my liking, plus I don't have to kill the chicken and pluck it before I can cook it. The chicken farms and supermarkets have already prepared and packaged the chicken for roasting.
The refrigerator is another electrical machine I would miss. Milking the cow daily vs opening the door and extracting a carton of milk; hmm, I'll take opening the door. The same goes for the vacuum. Instead of hauling carpets up from the floor and outside to beat with a stick, I'd rather flip a switch and push my Dyson. The chore is completed in a fraction of the time it takes to beat dirt and hair from coarse fibers. And I just love turning on the faucet and stepping into a hot shower vs again having to haul the water from the creek and heat it.
As fascinating as that era is to me, I wouldn't have made a good rancher's wife. How those women did it daily, and without complaint, is beyond me. I think they were made of stronger stuff than me. I do admire and respect them for their hard work, and can task my female characters with performing the same chores without electricity, but I thank God for putting me in this generation.