When “Old-Stuff” Becomes Priceless

My Grandma’s Old Wringer Washing Machine

It was a late summer afternoon in the mid 60’s of the previous century. We stood in my grandparents’ basement. Gathered around in a half circle around two washing machines, one brand new still in its wrappings and the other an old wringer washing machine both situated at the entrance to the long narrow hall where the washing machine belonged on the way to the back exist of the house. Gathered around were my parents, my aunt and uncle, my grandparents and myself. I was a youngster, no more than 6-7 years old tagging along to surprise my grandmother with her birthday present from the whole family. It was supposed to be a joyous occasion. Instead, we all stood around in an awkward silence. My grandmother slightly blushed, lips slightly puckered, looking rather sheepish. My grandfather’s face was slightly screwed up, asking very softly why this was necessary, to buy a new modern machine, when the wringer worked perfectly. My uncle all dressed up for the occasion, red bowtie and all began explaining the way the new machine will make life much easier for grandma. As it was all paid for and delivered, there was no way to return the present, my uncle explained. I understood what the adults were saying, but I was fascinated with the old wringer. It was a beautiful piece of machinery. So, it was “out with the old and in with the new”. We all said our goodbyes to the wringer as my dad and my uncle pushed it out through the backdoor to be thrown out. Like in a western, just as the sun was setting. For me, just in time for the good humor truck to buy a summer evening ice-cream.


“Shell” – Digital Illustration of a Photo of Shell, All Rights Reserved (photo and illustration)

@Barbara Adler Art 2022

Fast-forward to the present; I was scrolling, zapping and surfing my feed when a picture of an old wringer popped up, as an antique collector’s item. It was going for a hell of a price. I couldn’t help but to stop and think “what-if” we still held on to grandma’s old wringer. It was well used but in mint condition when it was traded for a brand-new modern washing machine. Grandma is long gone as well as her “new” machine.

There is an artistic point to this story. In comparison to old outdated machinery, do not throw out old artwork (unless you are a collector). Put it aside. Sometime in the future it may be appreciated and loved again, regaining its place on the wall. As for artists; do not throw out sketches and old artwork. Time has a habit of allowing ourselves to be less critical and more accommodating to our younger selves. Time allows for a new vision of an old piece allowing to pick up an old dialogue with new sentiment.


“At My Grandma’s” – Colored Pencils and Ink on Canson Paper, 65cm/50cm @Barbara Adler Art 2022

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