Dishpan and Buckets

Underneath a tree
little Buddha me
sitting in a dishpan
filled with water.
Joy floats easily
into an open mind.
Buddha BabyI laughed when the words “joy floats easily” fell out of my fingers and splashed onto the computer keyboard. Strangely appropriate! In the 1950s, Joy was my mom’s favorite dishwashing detergent. I think she believed it could do anything, because we washed the car, the floor, pots and pans, dishes, silverware, and even our hair in Joy. I have no clue what was in it, but that was back in the days when people didn’t worry about reading labels, drinking water from old garden hoses, riding bikes behind mosquito spraying trucks, or playing with little balls of mercury that bounced out of broken thermometers.

Years later, while talking to one of my younger sisters, I found out that mom had eventually taken a photo of her sitting in a bucket. What? Did the dishpan go out of style? My sister thinks that the switch over to buckets was probably a matter of convenience, since her photo was taken on a family camping trip. (To put it all into perspective–I have 3 brothers and 5 sisters and, at times, my parents seemed rather overwhelmed by us all).  Baby BucketWhy 4 buckets in this photo?
Let me guess!
#1—for prewash
#2—for wash
#3—for rinse
#4—to dry?

Necessity gives birth to creativity and innovation!
The best memories are often built on experiences that are just a little bit different.

About Mary Strong-Spaid

You can find me any time wandering around in my own mind gathering thoughts.
This entry was posted in Family, Memories, Photo Essay and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Dishpan and Buckets

  1. Wonderful story and images. You have a beautiful blog.
    Shine On

  2. vera ersilia says:

    Wonderful story! I remember Joy the liquid soap.

  3. beeblu says:

    I’m not surprised your parents were overwhelmed! 😀 Nice photos and joyful poem.

    • My mom loved to take photographs when she had time. She had a darkroom in the basement and developed her own photos. Oh! She would have loved the age of digital cameras and Photoshop. No need for a lot of chemicals and a darkroom anymore…with the computer and digital photography, it’s now a sea of endless possibilities!

  4. I love that line “joy floats easily into an open mind”. It makes me sigh, in a good way, and stop to just be. Thank you.
    Lovely story. I’m not surprised your parents felt overwhelmed. I think I’d have been overwhelmed by one!

    • Hello Alison and Don! I’m glad you stopped by because I wasn’t sure how to find your blog anymore. Things have changed since I last looked at WordPress! Wanted to see where your traveling has taken you now…..
      We have just downsized from a 4,000+ sq. ft. house to a 1,300 sq. ft. apartment. I think I am going to have to take a 3 hour drive out to the beach, so I can sit in openness for a while.
      Gave many things away…books to the library, things to Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, etc. etc. I don’t know how we ended up with so much stuff. I certainly don’t need all of the things and I don’t miss that at all, but I do need open space and freedom to move about. Claustrophobia.

      • I think there’s some universal law that people acquire as much stuff as they have space to put it in 🙂 and it’s amazing how little we miss it when it’s gone.
        Too bad the beach is so far away, but I’m sure you’ll find ways to beat the claustrophobia. Must have been a huge exercise to downsize! Congratulations!

  5. cindy knoke says:

    Okay, the way you connected Joy the dishwashing soap, with the joy of little Buddhas (read you and your sibs), is pure genius.
    It helps that I remember too clearly Joy Dishwashing liquid. White bottle, blue label, white liquid dish soap.
    Plus, I do think you mother may have been a genius (or still is?)
    I would never have thought of the drying bucket.

    • Thanks, Cindy.
      Actually, I didn’t do that consciously. It wasn’t until after I wrote the poem and saw the word Joy, that I realized there was an actual physical connection between ‘Joy’ and dishpans. Caught me by surprise and made me laugh.
      And then, the thoughtful image of a dishpan full of bubbly joy appeared in my mind…..
      I’m sure my mom would have enjoyed the wordplay too.

  6. maamej says:

    Lovely poem and a sweet story too.

  7. Pat Bean says:

    This blog earned a Bean Pat as blog pick of the day. Check it out at:

  8. sarasinart says:

    I enjoyed reading your stories. And I remember a lot of the things you mentioned.

  9. Leya says:

    Super sweet shots and lovely poem! I think I have photos of me in a bucket as well. but yours are beautiful in B&W.

  10. just loved the adorable pictures and the fabulous shot! our childhoods were fun, were not they? I remember taking bath with detergent soaps after Holi (the festival of colours) 🙂

  11. I love the pics and what gorgeous memories Mary 🙂

  12. Everything you mentioned in your story was a Joy! Could you imagine children play today with the mercury balls? I don’t think so. Lovely story and amazing old pictures.

    • It would not happen today, that’s for sure. I don’t think they make thermometers with mercury inside anymore. Recently, on the news, I heard that they shut an entire building down because a little bit of mercury was dropped on the floor during a science/chemistry lab class. I think the school was closed for a few days while they brought in a hazmat crew in to clean it up.
      Yep. Nobody is playing around with little balls of mercury anymore! I don’t know if the dentists put mercury fillings in people’s teeth anymore….I still have a few.

  13. Lisa Gordon says:

    What a wonderful story and memory, Mary, and I just love these photos!
    My Mom’s super-hero dishwashing liquid was Ivory.
    Dishes, clothes, you name it, she used it.
    I’d long since forgotten.
    Thank you for the memory, and for your visit.
    It is how I found you here, and I am so glad that I did. 🙂

  14. Tiny says:

    Love the story and the images!

  15. It really is joy when someone else is doing the dishes.

  16. Dina says:

    What a sweet story. “Joy floats easily” sounds great, I already feel lighter just by reading the words! 🙂

  17. Jet Eliot says:

    This was a fun skip down memory lane, Mary. I, too, was a kid who, in our small town in Wisconsin, ran with my friends chasing behind the mosquito truck blowing pesticides in our happy little faces. lol. I espec. liked your poem and the dishpan photo at the beginning — very moving and fluid and joyful. 🙂

    • I know! The pesticide clouds were fun. Yikes. We were oblivious.
      I guess that is why there is a saying: “Ignorance is bliss.”
      Well, after all these years, we are still alive so…thank goodness!

  18. west517 says:

    “Joy floats easy in an open mind…” I love this post!!

  19. Love memories like these. The little things which shape us more than we realise, until we look back at them with Joy.

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