The way they used to make them.

Mr. Washie, my beloved companion and faithful friend, is not at all well.


At present, he lies in the basement disemboweled and de-hosed, his parts hanging out and ashamed, with some mysterious organ of his having been disassembled on the living room coffee table for surgery. This day had to come really, it did. When I moved into this house 11 years ago, it had a dryer, but no washer. I was pretty sure (being thrilled just to have a house, never mind appliances) that I could live without a washing machine, which was good, since saying the I was a little broke would be like saying that Johnny Depp makes a little bit of a good pirate. I imagined myself loading up the wagon with loads of laundry and three little girls, and trouping off to the laundromat to wash our clothes, then bringing them back home to dry them. I lasted 10 days, until a stomach bug wracked the household one night and suddenly, the idea of taking truly disgusting sheets and jammies down the street to the washer with sick kids hanging off of me lost it’s romance faster than a Britney Spears marriage.

At exactly that moment, my sister bought a new house, and it had a washing machine, but she owned a better one. Mr. Washie was dragged up out of her basement and installed in mine by my brother and his buddy Pablo, whom I paid to install it with a case of beer.

(You would be surprised how many household services can be procured with a case of beer in this country. I got the gas connected to the stove for a 12.)

It was instant love. From the moment that I first lifted his lid to until he fell ill Friday, we have had a happy and..for the first 9 years, monogamous relationship. Mr. Washie has, in recent years opened his heart to Joe and the girls, and allowed them (even though they do not appreciate him the way that I do) to enter into a partnership of sorts. Through all of the loads of diapers, sheets and dirty clothes, Mr. Washie has never let me down. (There was that one time that I accidentally clogged his pump felting knitted clogs, but I bought him a new one and he forgave me for my carelessness. ) Mr. Washie has done more to help me with this family than any other thing on earth. I love him.


Further to that, Mr. Washie and I have the sort of commitment that married people only dream of. He was installed in the basement 11 years ago, and 5 years ago Joe and I remodeled the kitchen, carelessly installing a large pantry near the basement door. There is no chance now of Mr. Washie ever coming out, or a new washer coming in without some serious cupboard mangling. (Really, I don’t know what we were thinking.) That means that on Friday when Mr. Washie had a seizure and quit, Joe went on a hunt for parts.

He called Sears (Mr. Washie’s full name is “Kenmore Heavy-Duty”) and told them what washer we had. The lady on the other end of the phone asked for the model number printed on the back. Joe told her. Then she asked again. Joe told her. She asked if there were any other numbers. Joe lay on the floor of the basement and read the numbers out to her with precision.

“You’re sure?” she says. Joe, in a supreme demonstration of will-power did not point out to her that he reads numbers …all of them 1 through 9 with remarkable accuracy, and simply said “Yes. That’s all it says.” The woman went away then, when she came back she said something shocking. She had found Mr. Washie’s date of birth, and he was made in… (You’re not going to believe this. I know I’m still stunned.)

1978. My washing machine is 28 years old.

I am so moved by his years of service to me that I can’t even tell you of it. He’s done easily 3500 loads of laundry in this house…and there’s no way to know what he accomplished before he came to live with me. Dudes, get yourself a Kenmore Heavy-duty, because they are not screwing around when they make them. I don’t even clean his filter as often as I should, he’s been in at least two basement floods, he’s 28 years old and he still did two loads of jeans and a whack of towels before falling down on Friday.

The best part? Joe thinks he needs a $30 part that you can still buy from Sears. With any luck, Mr. Washie will be recovered later today, and I’m going to go straight out and buy a nice magnet to stick to the front of him. Maybe flowers or something. Bless his heart. Welcome to the Washing Machine Hall of Fame buddy. I’ll buy you all the parts you need.

234 thoughts on “The way they used to make them.

  1. Your washing machine is so awesome, bow down before the Mr. Washie greatest machine ever!

  2. I sure hope you get him fixed. I can assure you they don’t make ’em like that any more.

  3. Oh going back to the large grey blob, I have my own . However, mine is a tweedy red and I am four balls in and losing my mind! Good luck with yours it looks lovely!
    Lauren, lonely sitting here at a locked down Virginia Tech

  4. My first washer was much like that we moved her three times and she endured the wrath of a husband who dumps detergent, pushes button carelessly and overloads the amount of clothing. Well she died one winter day and I replaced her with another cousin. She lasted about 25 + years. She was very faithful. Good Luck with Mr. Washie. cecilia

  5. When I first met my husband’s grandmother, she was down in her basement washing on the Maytag she bought to wash my father-in-law’s diapers! (He was 52 at the time!) Of course, it was the old wringer style, but still…. the old one’s really lasted. Hope Mr. Washie recovers!

  6. May Mr. Washie have a good, clean surgery, and a quick recovery (and may Joe find the parts and correctly install them.) And no, they don’t make them like that anymore.

  7. May the thirty dollar part do the job, and if not, I’ll go put on Mozart’s Requiem and toast Mr. Washie for many a job well done.

  8. Aw shucks, when I read this post it said 0 comments…so mine should be the first, right? Not. ‘Cuz when I clicked on comments, there was Lauren 4 minutes ahead of me…Like I said Shucks!
    I had a Kenmore for years, and years, and foolishly got rid of it at the first sign of a problem. I don’t like my new (new being relative…new in my house =’s 10 years or less), much more expensive one half as well.
    Yay for Mr. Washie, long may he live and Good Luck with the repair.

  9. If the day finally comes to replace Mr. Washie, perhaps you could take apart the new washer so it is in smaller pieces that can be taken to the basement and reassembled. That way you would not have to remove the cupboards first.
    Another alternative is the smaller “apartment” – sized washers. A workable alternative if your daughters have already left for college/university.

  10. OMG I’m in the top ten for answering!?
    All hail Mr. Washie. *bows down before washing machine* His cousin lives in my parents’ basement. Cousin has done one load a day for the past 30 years (he was bought in our country’s Bicentennial) and is still going strong, despite repeated clogs of the hoses due to dog hair. While my friends’ washers of other brands keep breaking down. Kenmore and Sears. Gotta love ’em. Hope Mr. Washie gets well soon — and yes, I think he deserves a little merit badge!

  11. Step the lace away from the machine. The machine is past wonderful, and its innards special- including its lubricants. Not to be lightly shared with others. Like delicate lace. Sharing is for later. When happily reassembled, and back to work.
    Gorgeous work, BTW. On both fronts.

  12. A Maytag will give you years of good service too. When my soon to be 20 year old daughter was born my in-laws gave us their then at least 10 year old washer and dryer. The washer is still going strong although we did have to replace the dryer about 2 years ago. Now if only air-conditioning units lasted as long…..

  13. BTW, wouldn’t it be great if Kenmore made automobiles? My Honda Civic recently had her 15th birthday and she’s a little fiddly/fickle, but I can’t really complain and yet, I would love to be able to say, “Yup, that’s my Kenmore Wagon, she’s 28 years old and runs like a pup.”

  14. “At exactly that moment, my sister bought a new house, and it had a washing machine, but she owned a better one.” Apparently not, there (obviously) being no better machine than Mr. Washie himself. Get well soon, Mr. Washie!

  15. You’ve kept him busy and working for 11 years, an made a folk hero of him among the knitting cognoscenti. What more could a washing machine hope for in his second life?

  16. Joe is good I had to call the “Mr washy” fix-it man.
    Only to tell me my washy was dead,3 years old.
    Oh, why is Joe good, it took 6o.oo$ to let me know a repair would be 700.00$, gee thanks dude.
    Knit that man a ganey already.
    lu denny0x00
    Oh Rachel H. I’m going on the wee hoilday, so comment with out me baby.
    Hi rams.

  17. Keep him going if you can!! Kenmores suck hard-boiled eggs these last years. I bought a new Kenmore washer two years ago, and within the first year the top had rusted. So did my new Kenmore dryer. My good white shirts were not amused.

  18. Washers have a filter? Oops. I faithfully clean the dryer lint trap to prevent fires, or whatever happens if you don’t clean it. But I think I have been neglecting my washer. Your post has reminded me of just how much I really love it. My mom still has her original dryer which she bought in 1960-something, and she is on her second washer, bought maybe fifteen years ago. She got married in 1950.

  19. Oh, they truly truly do not make them like that anymore. However, Sears is very faithful to its customers, and keeps parts loooooong after the machines are discontinued. I was able to get a manual for my 30 year old sewing machine. Good luck with Mr. Washie. BTW, if you have to get a new one, I hear front loaders do not do well with felting. Cause the craft is more important than the laundry!

  20. Poor Mr. Washie, I hope he comes out fine!! Our dryer did that last week just as we started in on our week of camping clothes. It was $69 for a service call to pull out an underwire that has probably been there for years, just not making any noise. Long live Kenmores!!

  21. I’m so moved, I must send best wishes, and a speedy recovery!
    (OMG, I don’t believe I just did that!)

  22. I would not use ANY other washer or dryer other than Kenmore HDs. Ours were in their 20s & took care of 2 families (with kids & pets) before their place was taken buy younger Kenmore HDs (which we still have). Hail Kenmore!

  23. They don’t make ’em like they used to… Sometime around 1980 Sears discovered the magic of “planned obsolescence,” whereby your new washer breaks 6 hours after the warranty has expired.

  24. i had a similar experience with a Kenmore dishwasher that died (actually, it didn’t die, the freaking hadle broke and it could no longer be closed – it was 25 years old and they didn’t have any parts) two days before giving birth and in a panic replaced it wiht a Whirlpool. I cry a tear every day for that Kenmore.

  25. Oh goodnes.. I hope Mr. Washie has a full recovery! I went and looked at my washer, but being a front loader it doesn’t have a filter. I don’t think. nor does it felt worth a darn. Here’s to Joe and his tools.. make him a special dinner. Or yet, a better desert (winks)

  26. Our family was blessed with Mr. Washie’s older brother, born several years earlier. After an equally prodigious life of service to our family (three kids, pets, husband with shop projects, my nurse’s uniforms, etc), Mr. Washie’s brother went on to live with another family. We could not take him with us on our cross-country move, so left him behind in our old house, where for all I know, he is still agitating and spinning the day away. Here’s to Kenmore! No other machine could ever match it. And the great thing is, they still make the parts!
    Speedy recovery, Mr. Washie!

  27. Please let us know how the surgery goes, and treat the surgeon to some wonderful back rub for all his pains.
    (Would have posted sooner but I was distracted by the Johnny Depp link. . . . . sigh)

  28. Sears contracts with different manufacturers over time but slaps the Kenmore label on whatever is produced. (I know for sure that they do this with sewing machines and refrigerators, but I assume they have a similar policy for other appliances.) Whoever they were doing business with 28 years ago was a winner!!!

  29. Keep it going – they don’t make them like that anymore! And about front load felting – be patient and be sure your water is very hot. Mine felts beautifully but it may take 3 cylcles – no big deal.

  30. My mom gave me a washer/dryer set, purchased in 1972, also a Kenmore. It cloth diapered 4 children, washed our clothes until she moved in 1996, and then served my family for two years, with only two service calls the entire time. TWO.
    When offered a new, not-avocado-green set from my inlaws, I jumped at the chance. I should have known that 1)avocado green would come back into fashion and 2) anything that had washed the clothes of 6 people for 25 years without protest deserved more respect. I left the set when moving out of a rental, and regretted that decision ever since.
    Long live Mr. Washie, give him a kiss from me.

  31. I believe that GE makes Kenmore for Sears, at least some things. My Kenmore washie does 3-4 loads a day and it’s 17 years old. I only had to replace a small part that cost $5 about 2 months ago. Now my Refrigerator is a curse but that is another story.

  32. I just said good-by to my 28-year-old General Electric washer — it was still alive and kicking, but my dryer was burned out and I fell for one of the sexy new front loading, water saving machines. I hope Mr. Washie fares better. Jo

  33. Maybe with the new part Mr. Washie will become like TMK’s truck which is a 2000 Ford on one side and a 2001 on the other, no thanks to an errant driver who took out all of side A.

  34. My best wishes to Mr. Washie.
    Somehow it doesn’t please me that I’m older than ol’ Washeroo, but that’s just me.

  35. We had a broken dryer a couple of months ago. Honestly one of the most horrible weeks of my life. Between my husband trying to fix it and the laundry piling up quicker than you can say water, the amount of money it took for parts, the amount of running around for the parts and the attitude of the fine, upstanding workers at our local Sears (umm, that’s sarcastic) we should have just bought a new one.
    But hey, now that it’s fixed it runs like a dream.
    Good luck with the new and improved Mr. Washie.

  36. You know you’ve got trouble when you come home and find your teenager has hauled the ironing board upstairs to iron her dance costume and, when you casually inquire why she’s not ironing downstairs, she answers, “it seemed a little . . . damp down there.”
    I’m betting Speed Queen was making the Kenmore in 1978 because my circa 1985 Queenie,as she was affectionately known, was recently “retired” after a major (as in basement-flooding, a little beyond “damp”) breakdown in favor of a (much) more energy efficient front-loader. Aren’t we funny to get emotional about the machines that saw us through diapers, barffy sheets, returned-from-camp disgustingly dirty clothes, etc.??

  37. I have also clogged the machine by felting.
    It was a sad day. Our Mr. Washie told my mom all about it the Same Day! And then ratted me out to my dad with some huge red wool clumps in the pump!
    we do not have as loving a relationship…my Mr. Washie is a tattle tail!

  38. My old washing machine was a Kenmore as well, closer to 40 years old before it spun it’s last cycle. I foolishly opted for a Maytag for the next one, and it broke down horribly at 18 MONTHS, for the cost of pretty much replacement value. When we finally opted to fix it instead of replace it (a story in itself), after much haggling with the Maytag people (they agreed to pay for half the parts) the repair man said in so many words to be gentle with it – “let it rest between loads and don’t overload it.” WTF? When we move this lemon will not be coming with us. I’m buying another Kenmore. Hug Mr Washie for me, he’s a keeper!

  39. Wow…I’m so very impressed by your Mr. Washie–I will go read his story to my Mr. Washie to let him know that my Mr. Washie is not unappreciated–I too was thrilled to get one, after using the apartment washing machine for many years with children and having to worry about getting our stuff stolen and watching some other little girl run around with my little girl’s pink ruffled shirt.. I will say a little prayer to yours–they should all be so honored…

  40. Well, sadly, they don’t make them like mr washie anymore. These days the Kenmore Heavy Duty machines may only last a year, maybe 2. Ask me how I know…. Actually the same is true of Kenmore refrigerators and dryers these days. Oh, and a case of beer will get you pretty fare here in the US too πŸ™‚

  41. Wow. Mr. Washie is older than Britney Spears, and considerably more steadfast. I wish him a speedy and full recovery.
    I’m trying to remember how old our washer is… 1987, I think, the same age as our oldest cat. Not bad for a washer, and pretty impressive for a cat, but they have nothing on Mr. W. K. H-D.

  42. All hail Mr. Washie. Actually I am acquainted with Mr. Washie’s mother – a wringer washer at my friend’s cottage. It’s been washing cottage clothes and towels since I was 5. I’m now 43. No surprise that all my appliances are Kenmore.
    My wishes for a speedy operation and recovery. Tell Joe to buy two of those parts. Just in case they stop making them 10 years from now…

  43. My kitchen features it’s original 1960 oven and range. The faceplate says “Frigidare, product of General Motors”. And my Kenmore Mr. Washie is a mere child at only 18 years old.

  44. My parents bought their Kenmore Refrigerator in 1976 brand new, and it’s still working quite fine. Their washer just died a couple of years about, but it was a Kenmore that was 30 years old. Sears doesn’t mess around.

  45. Good luck on the part. Hope it works. Sorry to tell you though, they don’t make Kenmores like thye used to. I have owned 2 Kenmore heavy duty washers in the last 6 years and will be needing another very shortly. Trying to hold off though. I guess that is what I get for giving the kids laundry as a chore.

  46. I like how the shawl snuck into the picture of your disemboweled Washie parts. Sneaky little devil. Best with the fixing. Isn’t it great to live with someone who can actually fix stuff? A true blessing.

  47. I inherited by machines from my mother-in-law. My washing machime was 35 when she had to leave and her buddy the dryer was 38 years old. Neither could be helped as the parts were no longer available anywhere. Because of the uniqueness of their parts, or their antique nature, we were not even able to jerry rig something. Relationships made to last…

  48. Do whatever it takes to keep him running because they don’t make them like that anymore. My mother’s drier was bought to dry my nappies, it’s still going strong and I’m 43 now.

  49. Hi, I also have a Kenmore Heavy Duty, and I think I may have your Mr. Washie beat in terms of age. I think our Kenmore Heavy Duty is even older. We will have to compare those numbers Joe kept reading out to the Sears lady. My Mr. Washie is still going strong and we moved it from one part of our basement to the other and it weighed a ton. I seriously doubt our Mr. Washie is leaving the house either. We’ve had ours for about 9 years – but we inherited him with the house.

  50. My mother recently put a 38 year old washing machine out to pasture. His partner, the dryer, had passed on a year or two before. They were Kenmores as well.
    Me? I have a front loader. It’s new (I guess it’s the Gen X of appliances). It hates felting things and dribbles detergent down its front like an infant. I loathe it (and Mom isn’t too fond of her new appliances either). They just don’t make ’em like they used to.

  51. This is why I only buy my washing machines and dryers from a great used place here in town. They fix things up and sell them for good prices, and they guarantee their work for a year–all calls out to your house, all parts, everything.
    *sigh* Why can’t they make them like that anymore?
    Oh, and I think I’ve been infected by the gansey virus. I actually bought a pound and a half of some very good wool top at the festival yesterday and am thinking of knitting my hubby a gansey out of it. Of course, that would be after spinning it all up–did I mention that my son’s broken one of my wheels and messed up my good one? Grr. Still, I don’t know what I’m thinking . . .

  52. Hail to Mr. Washie! I had the exact same machine. In fact, my ex still has it and it works just fine. We bought it used with the dryer for $80 when it was a year old from a nice couple who had to move quickly. We replaced the spin dial after ten years and that was it. It must be the best damn washer out there. Get parts if you can. You’ll probably never find another washer who will love and serve you like Mr. Washie. I still have my mother’s Sear’s Kenmore sewing machine that she bought in 1966 and it works though last time I had it serviced parts were no longer available. I did buy another machine recently though and still feel a little disloyal.

  53. your washing machine is the same age as me.
    ok well i will be 29 in october but still.
    thats fantastic he has lasted this long. give mr washie a big hug and maybe a new filter:)

  54. In 1978, when hubby and I bought our first house, my mom and mom-in-law (both of blessed memory) bought us our washer and dryer as a housewarming present. I picked both Kenmore, which my mom had for her washer (she had a really old Norge gas dryer). MIL had Maytags.
    At the time Whirlpool was making the Kenmore laundry equipment. What with moves and so on, and my craving for a washer I could wash comforters and slipcovers in, I’m on my third Kenmore washer and my second dryer (this one a Maytag). Though it says Kenmore on the front, I know my front loader is still actually a Whirlpool, since it looks just like one of their models.
    Rule of thumb regarding when to put SERIOUS money into an appliance (remember, its just an AVERAGE) – water-contact appliances last an average of 10 years (washers, dishwashers, and yes mine have lasted well past that) and non-water contact average 20 years (dryers, stoves, ovens, etc.). At one time I had my mother’s old refrigerator, and it was 30 or so before it went. Gas stoves rarely have anything go wrong with them, but I’m afraid my 23 year old electric wall oven may be on its way out. And my KitchenAid mixer (a wedding present 32 years ago) is still working, although a repairman about 10 years ago when they had to open the motor seals said it wouldn’t last.

  55. My first washer, an avocado green Kenmore was lovingly known as Hazel. I was joyously happy to have her.

  56. I don’t know whether grin like a fool or groan. My Kenmore Heavy duty machines were inherited from friends about 4 years ago when they moved 10,000 miles to NZ. (In comparison the laundry equipment moved about 4 miles down the street.) They were probably about 10 years old at the time, and are a gold/almond color.
    Now they don’t see near the use that Mr Washie and friend do, as they only have to do about 4 loads per week. However my economical and tree hugging heart would really like a front load, low water usage washer. But based on Mr Washie’s track record, there’s not going to be a good reason for that to happen for a long, LONG time.
    It’s great that Joe is handy enough to fix him. I wouldn’t want to temporarily relocate a pantry either.

  57. I hope they continue to make all the parts you need for Mr. Washie so you can hold on to him forever! Do not believe for a second that the big, shiny, new models — even the energy-efficient and water-saving ones — come even close to giving you what you need (never mind the felting factor). There’s just nothing like a good, faithful washer. ; ) I still miss my old Maytag top-loader — would have been 21 this year.

  58. Maytag, 1963 . . . still going. I have been blessed, truly. And I have the matching dryer! Bought used in 1987. I hope Mr. Washie get well. The old washers and dryers are usually a pretty easy fix. I can still get parts for mine.

  59. My parents got a brand new Kenmore w/d set in 1969 when they got married. I have vivid memories of using the avocado green appliances when I was a senior in high school in 1995. Unfortunately, my memory is shot and I don’t remember how much longer they lived beyond that, but I’m fairly certain that the dryer even outlived the washer by another year or so. It’s truly amazing.
    I second Michelle’s comment: “Godspeed, Mr. Washie. We’re all rooting for you.”

  60. My parents bought a Kenmore W/D set in 1965, the year my daughter was born. As my mother babysat for the first few years, Mr. & Mrs. Kenmore washed and dried many many diapers and kiddie clothes. To this day they are still a model of what present day appliances only aspire to be. And with no repairs required! Of course, writing this down may have some adverse karma.

  61. The Seventies were good years. People and companies still took pride in their work. It was more about quality products and less about money hungry quantity products.
    Get Well Soon, Mr. Washie!

  62. Yeah Kenmore! Mr. Washie can join my parents’ Kenmore washer and dryer in the hall of fame. Purchased in 1968 and still kicking after 9 kids and several cross-country moves(no diapers, but lots and lots and lots of towels during the teenage years). I think we all learned how to do laundry on those machines- quite forgiving. Minor repairs- belts and maybe a pump or two. A few of the decal/painted on settings have worn off, but the paint job is still decent…
    We had a Kenmore upright freezer of a similar vintage- I think it passed on a couple of years ago.
    Sad to hear they’re not making them like that anymore!

  63. Ok, it’s so wrong for me to be tearing up after reading about Mr. Washi, but that was beautiful. I’ll blame it on the hormones from havung 3 kids and call it good. Good luck Mr Washi! You’ve been washing clothes longer than I’ve been alive. I’m going to definitely going to get me one of those when mine dies

  64. I once loved a little black two-seater Honda CRX with a love that was unholy and impure because I was one hot hootchie-mama in that car. Then I sold that car and bought all the necessary appliances to be a grown up lady with a baby on the way. My love for my Maytag washer and dryer is warm and enduring; we recently celebrated 500 loads of calm, quiet, clean laundry. I miss my CRX.

  65. Oh no! I will be keeping all of my fingers crossed (and whatever other appendages I can cross!) that he gets well soon!

  66. I feel like I almost know Mr Washie! Before my beloved Miss May Tag came to live with us I had a buddy in my basement too. Not only did he clean whatever my daughters threw at him but he did so with style. He had a light-up console that was way too stylish for my house. When we finally had to part ways my husband laughed at me for taking pictures to remember him by. (Oh yes I really did!) The people who came to cart him away a few years ago had never seen anything quite like it. He was born in 1965!

  67. Fantastic on the longevity of your Mr. Washie. I hope a minute part is all it takes to get him back to full speed.
    And good to know he’s lasted this long. My own Mr. Washie and dryer are but mere babes (only purchased them last year). And along with the fridge and my sewing machine, they are all Kenmore brands.
    Long live Sears!

  68. Maybe you should go out and buy Joe a sixer since I usually have to call a $100 repair man to install that $30 part. I have a plumbing issue at the moment that I am putting off because I figure I should clean the house before inviting work men into the house. They may not understand the all consuming knitting.

  69. I had Mr. Washie’s brother-Brother Washie- we bought him in 1978. And he was the best daggone washer you’d ever want…a year or so he bit the big one and went to the big laundry room in the sky and Disneyland Dad bought an Amana one…what a piece of crap. I mourn for Brother Washie every week.

  70. WOW – workers are expensive in Cananda — a 6 or 12 pack!?! WOW!!! Here in the good old Southern part of the USA we just had friends help us load and unload furniture, on a truck, off a truck, in the house and one piece – up the stairs… for two beers each (a 6 or 12 pack each would have made us broke!)
    Funny how men work – just give them a beer or two (or 6 or 12) and they will do just about anything! Glad to see that some things are the same no matter what international boarders you cross!
    Good luck Mr. Washie – keep on going!

  71. My folks Kenmore Heavy Duty lasted from the time I was 6 wks old, until they moved from the old house when I was 18. It was still working when they left it but figured they should get a new one. In the 18 years since then they have bought 5 more washers. They don’t build them as well anymore.
    Fix Mr Washie as often as you can. He will be good to you.

  72. Mr. Washie and I were born the same year. I bought the machine I thought was the “one” three years ago. It has had more service calls and repairs in three years than my mother’s washer which being from Mr. Washie’s era didn’t give up the ghost until it was well over 20 years old and then only because the parts were too expensive.

  73. For your sake, I hope the part does it, because your title says it all: THEY DON’T MAKE THEM LIKE THEY USED TO. I guarantee you if you buy a brand new one that looks wonderful and shiny and energy efficient, and you will THINK you LOVE it, about two days after the warranty ends, IT WILL DIE. Even Kenmore Heavy Duty. It’s been happening to all my friends, and I am holding my breath that my current washer (18 years old and holding) does not die. We are small laundry users, because we are a small family.
    The one we had before that, my old roommate owned for 18 years. She died before IT did, and she left it to me in her will. David and I used it for five years, then handed it down to my mother when we moved to the new house, because it could no longer hold a “large” load of clothes — the bin had rusted a bit near the top and so it could not take a full load of water, (it would leak out the top) so my mom, who was newly on her own, needed a washer and we all thought, “perfect for one person, to tide her over.” That was 18 years ago, and she only just replaced it THIS YEAR.
    Now all my friends and relatives who’ve replaced their appliances in the last couple of years (including me with my brand new refrigerator, and yes, it’s a Kenmore) have had them die in two to three years, TOPS.
    It’s an appliance conspiracy. I’m not kidding. πŸ˜€
    So I’m crossing my fingers for Joe to have good luck with the repair. Things are not built a) to last and b) to be repaired, anymore.

  74. I think I had Mr Washie’s brother. He was a Kenmore Heavy Duty that I bought second hand (along with a dryer of the same vintage – I guess that would be Ms Dryie) when I lived in South Carolina in 1980. I lived in an apartment with no hook-up, but got such a deal from someone moving out of the country, I couldn’t pass them up. I don’t know how old he was at that point. He moved with us to 2 other apartments in Massachusetts before we moved into a house with a hook-up in 1985. Now I realize that I don’t do as much laundry as someone with kids, so I hadn’t developed the same close and personal relationship, but when my Mr Washie passed on several years ago I was very sad. I have to say that they don’t make washers like that anymore. Mine too has been thru several basement floods and I don’t think I ever cleaned the filter but he still cleaned like a champ. His replacement can’t compare (in cleaning and looks – you just can’t get avacado green appliances anymore). Ms Dryie is still around (never even shed a tear at Mr Washie’s passing) – she doesn’t have a timer anymore so keeps on running and running. A ringing endorsment for the older Kenmore appliances.

  75. I think Mr Washie’s cousin resides in my basement. If I recall, Kenmores were built in the House of Whirlpool (or Maytag, one or the other). I have a seventies vintage Whirlpool that while it makes a couple of noises still chugs away. So does the dryer. Takes longer to felt stuff but I treat my Whirpee well. I’ve also been told by a washer repair guy that the newer machines aren’t as reliable because they use more plastic.
    Many salaams over Mr Washie!!

  76. My sympathies.
    My washer had been dying for a few months – first the dial when, then you needed a screwdriver to turn it on or off, then it started agitating at will (or not as the case might be), etc. The last straw was a week ago Sunday when the dryer died. It had been fixed once before. The fix this time would have been about $250 for the both of them. And then only a partial guarantee. They were Whirlpools. We got new ones, GE this time, as we had had a GE prior that lasted forever and would still be going strong, I’m sure, if we still lived in that house. And it had a bad dial too.
    Machines delivered Friday, but washer drain hose too short… So not until today, and I can’t wait to go home and try it out!

  77. I certainly hope Joe is right and Mr. Washie is fixed by a $30.
    If for some reason he has to be retired I recommend stalking the backs of appliance stores (of the Mom & Pop variety) they bring in a lot of “old” machines when people buy new ones. A lot of the time places like that are happy to help you take them away (generally they have to pay for someone to haul them away hopefully for scrap) and generally the machines are in working or close to working order. I’d seriously take a machine from pre-1985 WAY before I’d take a new one.
    Don’t ask me how I know this stuff… it still makes me shake my head. πŸ™‚
    All Hail Mr Washie!

  78. HEY! I had a Kenmore Heavy-Duty Washer too! Washer and dryer, actually I got them for free from a friends’ parents who got a talking washer and dryer or something like that. They worked FABULOUSLY! But when I moved, our apartment already had a washer dryer set, and our old ones wouldn’t fit. So I sold them for $50 πŸ™‚

  79. Wow! Mr Washie is older than I am. I’m glad you were able to find a transplant for him; I don’t think I’d be as lucky…

  80. We adore our Kenmore front loader, and do a long cycle with just a cup of vinegar every few months to keep her insides squeaky clean. After months of apartment living and two weeks of not having a washer in our new place, we sat on the laundry room floor and watched our first load spin around. It was better than cable.

  81. Steph, you’ve outdone yourself. A feel-good post about your washing machine. I love it. He’s 3 years older than me, BTW.

  82. Sorry, not even Sears makes them like that anymore. I have my mother’s old Kenmore sewing machine, as old as I am at least (32 and counting) and I’m fairly certain I could sew a whole house with that thing if I set the feed dogs just right. Now they are made with plastic. …shudder…
    Feel better soon, Mr. Washie. If Steph sends me her address, I will send you a magnet.

  83. My family had a similar relationship with a refridgerator, it was about 20 years old, probably older but it was there before i was born and so i guestimate. It even moved cross country with us to idaho! Good appliances are like pets, you take care of them and they stick around and try not to crush the ice too badly.

  84. Yep, my parents washer broke and the repair man even told them to buy the parts to fix it versus selling them a new once beacuse they really Don’t make them like they use too.

  85. My mum had a Mr. Washie with a roller bit — to squeeze out the excess water from the wash before transfering to the dryer. In spite of a gold-standard performance, Mr. Roller Washie was retired (to the tearful pleas to the contrary by my mother) and replaced with a newer model. Sometimes, youth isn’t everything. Particularly when it comes to kick-ass appliances.

  86. Long Live Mr. Washie! The good old boy has earned a brief rest, but his vacation is hopefully short lived! :)Hope he bounces back in no time.

  87. My grandparents’ house was built in the mid-50s. The original dishwasher and electric stove are still there, still working after ~50 years. Nice that they used to build “durable goods” to be durable.

  88. the magnet on my washer says ‘happy laundry’ i got it out of a magazine (simple living?) in an ad.
    you ought to let us pick out magnets and mail them to mr. washie. it’d be interesting to see what you get.

  89. Hail to Mr. Washie! I just sent my Kenmore Heavy Duty to her final rest, a well deserved, hard earned rest with a 21 gun salute!! She came to live with us more than 20 years ago, had been moved twice in those 20 years, never needed more than a belt replaced on her, so while saying good bye was hard, absolutely no complaints. My John was going to fix her, but I said we would send her off with everything in tact. They really are work horses. Good luck!

  90. I think Mr. Washie needs a magnet of a beer. Somewhere (on my fridge I think) I have a Guiness magnet. I’ll be in Canada you could find a beer magnet, I think Mr. Washie has earned it.

  91. My parents had a dear old Kenmore that lasted at least 30 years before heading off into retirement. I’m hoping my 9 year old Maytag is headed for the same kind of legacy.
    I must say, I have to agree with Liz about the magnet. Maybe Mr. Washie just needs a case of beer just like Pablo did!

  92. 1978 was a very good year. I was born that year. πŸ™‚ A good year for Kenmore as well. I have a 1978 kenmore sewing machine that still works like a dream.

  93. I’ve got a Kenmore Heavy Duty, though it is only 9 years old, bought new when we got our house. Has been a solid machine with no problems.
    I would think that when the time comes for Mr. Washie to go to the Great Rinse Cycle in the sky that he would make a fine storage cabinet for YARN! You could pack several sheep worth of yarn in Mr. Washie’s cavernous belly!

  94. Ok, I’m not a very religious person, and I don’t pray often. But I’m praying for YOU Mr. Washie! I’m praying! Get well soon!
    Its not often we find guys like Mr. Washie, so devoted and hard working. We need more of them.
    (My washer is almost as old as Mr. Washie, about 20. I will admit that sometimes I look lustfully at the new power/water saving ones, but always I go back to old faithful.)

  95. My dad’s Kenmore washing machine is over 30! Then again, he also still has a Sony color tv that he bought in 1975 and the sewing machine that he got in the early ’60s.
    I wish Mr. Washie a speedy recovery. You’re such a loyal friend.

  96. My mother’s Kenmore w/d set is 35+ years old. Her Kenmore Sewing Machine is 40+ years old. They sure don’t make ’em like that anymore. I hope that’s all Mr Washie needs and you get him up and running again.

  97. I’m glad to see you gave him the nice “bless your heart” ‘ole southern sayin’.
    Long live Mr. Washie, Carolyn in NC

  98. My Kenmore Heavy-duty washing machine is only 21 years old. Nice to know that I should get a few more years out of it.

  99. Hooray for Mr. Washie! May he get well soon. His younger brother, who works in my basement, dates from 1980 and has a similar history of helping out our family of four plus a sheddy dog. He’s a Sears-Kenmore, too.

  100. Yay, Mr. Washie! My Kenmore washer is 17 years old and still going strong as well…one service call in all those years.

  101. Mr. Washie has done more to help me with this family than any other thing on earth.
    Even more than a coffee maker? Wow, that’s some washing machine.

  102. I’m so glad to hear you washed your diapers. I thought you might be a kindred spirit!! Out here in my little ‘burb of Los Angeles, it’s an unheard of thing and I am widely discriminated against. But never mind, if I won’t save the earth for my children, who will?

  103. Yep – they don’t make em like they used to! Every time one of our “oldy but goody” appliances dies on us we just know the new one will never last as long!
    Treat Mr. Washie with continued love and kindness and I am sure he will just keep on washing!

  104. With the first paycheck from my first professional job I bought a S*ars K*nmore washer for my mom who up to then had owned only the old fashioned wringer washers. She used it without any problems for about 15 years. Then it “broke down”. Maybe it just needed a new hose or something, but my sister who is the ultimate consumerist (she is great otherwise) gave “my” washer away and bought a new one, ignoring my recommendations to get another Kenmore. She had the audacity to tell me that Sears did not have washers any more. Oh, great Harlot, finally I can tell my story, which has been burning my gut for more than 20 years. Not that I am bitter or anything.

  105. they did use to make them to last, didn’t they? we had such a tv once, not even a fancy one. we ended up giving it away to charity because it was too small to our new large living room, but it was pretty amazing to own a machine that was older than me (which dear mr. Washie is too, BTW). my grandmother’s 50s Singer is still working too.

  106. I think you should pop a beer into the bottom of Mr. Washie before Joe seals him up. He’s really earned it.
    Besides, the new energy efficient models are usually fancy low agitation. Yes, non-felting. Maybe Mr. Washie deserves two beers and a few other replacement parts.

  107. I am also 28 and have recently fallen ill, but I am on the mend as those of us born in the noble year of 1978 are a hearty lot, so I have full faith that Mr. Wahsie will also make a full recovery. But go easy on him. He may just now be realizing that those feelings of invincibility of youth are starting to wear off!

  108. Poor Mr Washie. I hope he recovers. I don’t have any magnets, but I do have a “Honk If You Love BBQ” sticker he is welcome to have. It’s twin is on my beer fridge out back.

  109. Oh yeah, 1978…..a very good year, for washies and such….might have been one of the last ones…hopefully as long as you can get his parts everyone will be in great shape. Best of luck!
    14 days…

  110. My parents still have the Kenmore Heavy Duty washer and dryer that they bought oh… I want to say at least 15-20 or more years ago. They both still work perfectly.
    We are now on our second washer and dryer set in the last 5 years. And within weekd of owning this set the dryer started squeaking. But of course there’s nothing wrong with it as dryers are supposed to squeak, you know.
    Ahhh… disposable appliances. Just what the planet needs more of.
    I hope Mr. Washie is able to be repaired. You won’t find a new one nearly as dedicated as he’s been.

  111. I foolishly got rid of my 1972 Kenmore in 2002. It needed a pump and the repair man didn’t think I’d want to spend $50 plus travel & labor for a return trip on top of the $50 he had already cost me to come in. The next year I had to get a heavy duty pump for my Maytag (piece of poop) heavy duty machine – it still doesn’t drain all the way occasionally until I go down and run the drain & spin cycles again.
    Treasure Mr. Washie! And treasure Joe who can fix things like that!

  112. You are a true comic. Have you ever tried stand up comedy ? Good Luck Joe with “Mr. Washie”

  113. Mr. Washie’s younger cousin, Washerama (b. 1986), lives in _my_ basement. Two weeks ago, Washerama went *kerthunk* and stayed full of water. For a twelve, my neighbor who Does This Sort of Thing came over and pronounced it was, in fact, a $40 drain pump. They don’t make ’em like they used to.

  114. My aunt in Rolphton, Ontario still has one of those old-school washers where you fill one basin and plug it in to wash the clothes and put them through the roller before dumping the water outside and refilling it for the “rinse cycle”. She has had that baby since the early ’60s and swears by it. Longest summers of being on wash duty. Ever.

  115. LOL — reminds me of the dryer we inherited from the students in the apt. next door to us. We kept that thing limping along long past its normal expectancy, I think. I glued parts back together, replaced belts with others that were “close”, etc., until finally — I forget now what the last straw was, but something unfixable finally cropped up. That was 25 years ago, and its replacement has dried faithfully ever since. And the companion washer has washed faithfully, too. Long may they launder!

  116. Addendum: I am crossing my fingers for Mr. Washie. Get him a really nice magnet, something to brighten his dark basement.

  117. See, this is one of the reasons I LOVE Sears. You can get stuff there that lasts for-freakin’-ever. Fantastic.

  118. Also, I’ll tell you what sort of magnet he should have. A felted flower magnet. It seems appropriate. *nod*

  119. If I were you, I’d knit Mr. Washie a giant “tea” cozie. At his age, he might feel a chill in his bones, especially stationed in the basement as he is and you would not want him getting over agitated or feeling spinny.
    I will pray for Mr. Washie’s recovery and for many bright days ahead for him, doing the thing he loves most in this world.

  120. Sending get well wishes to Mr. Washie! My Mr. Washie passed away a two months ago and unfortunately I had to replace him with a much more $$ one. I still miss mine.

  121. Well they don’t make them like Mr. Washie anymore – even the newer Kenmore Heavy Duty washers aren’t as good. Currently one is expected to last about 10 years (with luck).

  122. Why do I get the feeling you’re about to be inundated with magnets? Get well Mr. Washie!

  123. There’s a filter? Oops.
    I kill, on average, one major appliance every two years. Maybe if I knew where the filter was they might last a bit longer….
    Washing machines, like men, are clearly better value if you go for an older model. They might be creaky and noisy and have battered knobs but they keep going for longer and that’s what makes a woman happy.

  124. Last time we had our washer (of a similar vintage) repaired, the service guy said to keep it running as long as we possibly could, because current washing machines are crap in comparison. So I hope Mr. Washie makes it through.

  125. I got my washer and dryer in 1982, Whirlpools both. The dryer is still going strong although the washer died a few years back. I think all appliances were better made “back in the day”. New isn’t always better. I did learn a few years ago that Kenmore isn’t a brand, but a label placed on appliances that are put out to bid. I don’t think it always was that way, which may explain the drop in quality. When you put things out to lowest bid, you might not get the highest quality….fancy that!

  126. The first time I entered my husband-to-be’s mother’s home while we were dating, John Lennon was still alive. We entered through the kitchen door, and the first thing I saw was a load of laundry coming out of a Kenmore HD which I later learned had been acquired when my husband and his brothers (all boys) were very, very young. The same Kenmore HD is still in the same spot in the same house (having been spared the Katrina flood in New Orleans by a few blocks), where Dear Niece and her Dear Hubby are using it, and no doubt where it will continue to wash many a blankie.
    I will go do a load of laundry this very minute in honor of Mr. Washie and hope for a speedy recovery. If Joe can fix a 28-year-old washer for $30, you better finish that Gansey.
    Me? In college I used to cut hair for a six-pack of decent beer (Beer was consumed AFTER haircut).

  127. By all means hang on to that washer! I hate to say this, but they really don’t make ’em like they used to. Kenmores used to be known for going for AT LEAST 30 years before giving up the ghost (my Mom’s Kenmore dryer just died last year after 36 years), now they go for about 15. My Mom has a 40 year old Kenmore sewing maching (yup, used to make them too). Last time she had it serviced, she asked the guy if perhaps it was time to get a new one. He looked at her as if she had lost her mind and said, “Hell, no! You’ll never get one as good as this one today!” So, yes, take good care of Mr. Washie!

  128. Good luck with Mr. Washie. And yes, they do still make things like they used to. You just have to pay more for them… I’ve been lusting after the new, big, water-saving washer and dryers… I’m probably not ever going to get them, however, as we expect the current washer and dryer to see 25 plus years… as our last did. Kenmores, both.

  129. *blink*blink*
    Your washing machine is the same age as me. OMG.
    In fact, today is my birthday. I was born on this day in 1978, the same year as Mr. Washie.
    I only wish I could get replacement parts at Sears!
    I didn’t do any laundry today, either.

  130. I have never owned a washing machine. Being married to a perpetual student (he has three degrees and started his fourth today)it is likely that I will never own a washing machine. However, I dream of owning one someday. Therefore, your story made me tear up a little. Seriously. I have all of my digits crossed that Mr. Washie makes a full and speedy recovery!

  131. Mr. Washie should receive some sort of honorific for his years of steadfast service. Something like an Order of Canada or maybe just an upgraded title like Sir Washie or Lord Washie.

  132. My washer failed me just a few weeks ago. We had already installed a new pump a year ago. Of course, only a one year warranty. It seems that appliances made years ago lasted so much longer. Well, I bought a new one, and knitting was one concern. So many friends have front loaders, but items may not felt as well or you can’t control the felting as well. To make a long story short, I bought another top loader with felting knits in mind.

  133. Wow! Reading that post actually brought a little tear to my eye. I can’t tell if it’s because
    A. I love that you love your washer.
    B. I have really bad PMS
    c. It reminded me of the big pile of laundry sitting on my bedroom floor.
    I guess I’ll go do a load and figure it out.

  134. I have a Kenmore heavy duty washer that is 29 years old! It has never had more than minor repairs – a timer and a few hoses. And it’s still going strong. I’ll cry when it finally gives up the ghost. It washed my kids’ clothes and is now washing my grandchildren’s.

  135. You made me realize that my washer & dryer are almost the same age — 27.5 Knock on wood that they don’t hear this and die in sympathy — after my freezers death last week.
    But don’t count on Sears Refrigerators – friends have one that is 1 yr old died and Sears won’t even come to look at it for 2 weeks then if it needs parts it will be another 2 weeks minimum — I wish I had a horrified smiley to put here. Can you imagine…..

  136. Steph, take heart. My Kenmore form Sears is now 30 years old. I bought it in August of 1976. I once clogged it felting and nearly threw the Sears repair guy out of the house when he said I needed a new pump. The pump was unclogged, all has been well. The only other thing I have done is to replace the timer, a repair I did myself in 1980. I love my washer!! Seven loads yesterday. Do not lose faith. Mr Washie will rise above this. My fingers are crossed.

  137. Holy cow, 28 years old! That’s astonishing!
    And you’re right – this definitely merits something extra-nice for good ol’ Mr. Washie. Maybe you could knit him a washer-cozy!! πŸ˜‰

  138. Please don’t get Mr. Washie “fixed”. We need more Mr. Washies in this world. If you could have him repaired, then introduce him to a nice Miss Washie we could have lots of Washie jrs.

  139. I’m back after a long silence, weighing in on the really important issues. For someone who has yet to be a homeowner, I have remarkably strong and hateful feelings towards all newfangled washing machines, which are actually not really honest-to-goodness clank-rattle-roll machines, but rather, a collection of moving parts driven by a computer chip destined – or possibly programmed – to die at the exact same moment as its many washing machine chip compatriots, creating a sudden huge demand for such chips and leaving you at the mercy of the not actually aptly named “supplier” of such chips, who will almost certainly be out of them for at least a month. Like I said, I have never owned a washing machine, but I endured months of torment at my last apartment, which had a computer-chip driven washing machine in the basement. The thing’s sensor got confused all the time, which meant I usually paid double to wash my clothes (until I totally innocently figured out a way to bypass payment and then all was well for me, if not for my horrible landlord). Similarly, the sensor at my yoga studio’s washing machine recently lost its bearings, leading to a week-long (and counting) acute shortage of towels, a highly stressed studio director, and many very crabby yoga students. This is all just to affirm your love of and loyalty to Mr. Washie. I love him too.

  140. That has got to be the best washer in the universe. That has to be, what, 280 years when it comes to washers, right?

  141. We all sound like my grandparents did when I was little… “They just don’t make them like that anymore,” lol In 78, I was in college and couldn’t have cared less about the life span of an appliance. Then.. I grew up.. My parents freezer was bought at Sears in 1962. We defrosted it once a year.. in summer… When my mother died in 1996 it was still going strong. My friend bought it at the estate sale.. It is still working!!!!! this is 2006 for the love of pete. She did have to replace the gasket. Now we are the throw away generation.. maybe we wouldn’t have to be if they made things better.. * I’ll drink a beer in honor of Mr. Washie.. keep us informed!!!!!

  142. (No time to read the other comments, but I agree with rho 1640 above: Sears Fridges are…finicky. Of course, I bought another one last time, but I KNOW it is made by Amana, they just put the Kenmore badge on it. So far, so good–touch wood!)
    Best Wishes to Mr. Washie for a full recovery, Dr. Joe will do well with the surgery! My dear hubby installed a new “Jarvik Heart” into my Admiral washing machine about 5 years ago, and although the gentle and permanent cycles now refuse to go, “normal” carries on bravely. (Touch wood again!) It’s 23 years old! They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

  143. My husband’s grandmother has a toaster that must be a kissing cousin to Mr. Washie. Her Farberware toaster is easily 45 years old and still toasts beautifully every day. And it is so cool, just drop in the bread and it ever so gracefully lowers into the toaster (none of that pushing down the lever in front – there isn’t one), and when it has reached that perfect point of toastiness, gracefully glides up again. It is a wonder to behold. I went looking for a similar toaster a couple of years back, and nothing anywhere from Macy’s to Williams-Sonoma came anywhere close to Grandma’s Miss Toasty.

  144. Well, my Mr. Washie had a major operation earlier this summer. He had a heart and brain transplant and is now back to his ol’self xoxo (((I wuv ya Mr. Washie)))

  145. When our Mr. Washie called it a day we’d had him for 18 years. (He had the decency to give up the ghost on the day our oldest graduated from high school…the one we bought him for) But when my hubby and the boys busted him up, they found $63.00 and some odd cents in the drum. So I guess he didn’t owe us anything!

  146. I love that your washing machine is almost as old as I am. And I”m no spring chicken, either.
    But I’ll tell you the truth–we had a drier in the basement of our house to match Mr. Washie until it started eating our clothes.

  147. I followed the Johnny Depp link and got lost for quite a while.
    Kudos to mr washie for his years of service. So, how old does that make him in people years I wonder?

  148. I have a Kenmore Heavy Duty machine that I must have bought in, oh maybe, 1998ish? Before I had my first kid in 2000. Then as soon as he was born, like within weeks, I bought the matching dryer. (Didn’t know they matched til I got it home.) They are a great duo, and no one in my house has ever used them but me. Sad but true. (Not that I expect a 6 year-old or a 3 year-old to do laundry. I don’t even think hubby knows how to turn them on! I’m sure if he used them they would have much shorter life expectancies, seeing how he’s a Mama’s boy and never had to anything along the lines of housework. Ever.)

  149. Mr. Washie is older than I am. I’m not sure how I feel about this…
    (my parent’s washing couple finally bit the dust and no replacement parts could be found; I think I was the only one who was saddened by the news.)

  150. Sorry–I just have to uphold the honor of the Kenmore fridge. We have one that is at LEAST 25 years old (we bought it at a garage sale). We have our semi-retired repairman come in every year or so to give it a good goose, and it still keeps our ice cream (chocolate) frozen and beer (any brand) cold. Let’s all raise a glass to Kenmore!

  151. Ahhh, yes. I remember falling in love with a washing machine. I was on the rebound, having done the laundry by hand and at the laundrymat. I stood with the top open, enchanted at the wash cycle, while it did my hard work for me. Thirty years ago and the memory is still fresh!

  152. Wow that’s a long time! My parents have a Kirby vacuum that they bought before I was born, and it’s still going strong. I’m always amazed how long stuff made in that era lasts. It doesn’t seem to be true for stuff made today, sadly.

  153. So…..the young pilot is showing his wife the cockpit of his advanced fighter plane. ” You really understand all these fancy controls? ” she asks. ” Yes. ” he says, beaming with pride. ” And you expect me to believe you can’t figure out how to use the washer? ”

  154. Hey, I don’t suppose Joe could explain for me why one day my ten-year-old dryer’s dial started only working going in reverse? Unless you open the door mid-cycle, and then it’s sheerly a guess which way it will progress from there. I think it must be in its teenagerhood.

  155. I bought Mr Washie’s uncle in 1967 when I was first married. He lived in the basement of my first house until I moved in 1994 and callously replaced him with a new sexy model for my new house. 27 years–and he was still perking right along. His only illness in all those years was a case of bronchitis–he coughed and had a runny nose–which was easily cured with a new hose.

  156. Newer Kenmores–not so great. Especially the more bells and whistles you get, I think. We bought our first house almost 4 years ago, and it came with a matching Kenmore washer and dryer that were 2 years old or less. They had all sorts of options, fancy keypads, and little digital displays to tell you what they were doing or how many minutes were left. Almost as soon as we moved in, the dryer began to beep. A lot, intermittently. I’d be in another room and start hearing “beepity-beep, beepity-beep, beepity-beep…” over and over again until it about drove me batty. When it did this, it would also not allow me to run anything but the “cotton” cycle, with high heat. It would do it for a while, then stop for a few months, then start up again. The Sears repair person came out and replaced one very expensive part ($400–good thing it was under an extended warranty!) and that helped for a while, but then it broke again within a year, in the same way. This time the warranty had run out, so we had it diagnosed, but got rid of it when they wanted to install an equally expensive part. It turned out the cotton cycle button on that fancy keypad was stuck! For that price, I can get a new dryer with fewer things to break–and I did! A nice, simple GE model that’s doing just fine so far.
    The Kenmore washer broke down shortly thereafter–decided not to drain one day. We’d had it repaired a couple of times since moving in, too, and decided to replace it as well. We got a great Kenmore front loader instead. Yes, it’s a Kenmore, and even fancier in some ways, but it was well reviewed by Consumer Reports and has done well for us so far. I love the sanitary cycle, but I can’t say anything about felting with it, never having tried. If it clogs things up, my husband probably won’t ever let me try. I’m pretty sure Kenmore doesn’t even make the models that broke anymore–they were real losers.
    My parents, on the other hand, have a Kirby vacuum cleaner they bought when I was…nine? It’s got to be at least 20 years old and still going.
    I remember Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel! That was a cute book. πŸ™‚

  157. We bought an old Kenmore washer when we bought our house. That thing was quite a workhorse! It was easily as old as Mr. Washie, and my parents have the same washer that they’ve had since I was little, making it somewhere between 27-30 years old.
    Say what you will about Sears (and boy, I’ve got some choice things to say about them), they know how to make a washing machine!

  158. I now have a new respect for the old washing machine downstairs. It came with our place and ss probably just as old (mid 70’s), doesn’t have a hot water or a delicate cycle, but it works great (plus living a couple minutes from my parents means I can do delciates there). I hope it lasts longer.
    Hope Mr Washie gets better!

  159. Too true. Appliances are just not made like they used to be in this disposable society. We bought this place almost 8 years ago and bought all new appliances (big splurge). With the exception of the dryer and stove all have had their breakdowns/replacements or are worse for wear (today I fought with a fridge drawer that refused to open, broken.)
    Another appliance story if I may? Just before I got married (14 years now) I got rid of my mom’s handmedown coffee perculator and toaster. Why? Because they were old and dated. I got rid of a 35 year old functional perculator and toaster which now, are all the rage and obviously superior to all the crap toaster and coffee makers I have gone through over the years. And how I wish I still had that toaster that toasted all through my childhood πŸ™

  160. All hail Kenmore – my parents bought Kenmore appliances, and I can’t remember a one of ’em dying. The only reason any were left behind was because the houses were sold *with* the appliances.
    I’m an apartment dweller, but I just got a different kind of old treasure myself. I have had no vacuum cleaner for something like 5 years. (Yes, you read that correctly. 5 years. Euuughh.) My SIL took some stuff to the thrift store for me, and called saying he’d found this kinda funny-lookin’, really ancient canister vacuum (I hate uprights). It was only $18.95, had all the attachments, it worked. Did I want it? I asked him if it had a brand name. He said, “Uh, yeah, lemme see…Electrolux.” I nearly fainted, but managed to scream, “YES, GET IT IMMEDIATELY, DON’T LET IT OUT OF YOUR SIGHT!” I’ve *heard* Ye Ancient Tayles of Ye Magnificent Electrolux!
    They’re true. The body is only about 2′ long, but it sucks like a – er, well, you know; much better than the *industrial* vacuum I’ve borrowed from the apt. managers. No wheels, little runners instead; still, it’s so light I can move it easily. Plus I got 30% off for the stuff I’d donated. So for about $16, I now have this little vacuum that’s at least from the 50’s, maybe the 40’s – which would be older than me! – looks vaguely like a Buck Rogers spaceship, and works like a champ. I’m in love, love, love. Let’s hear it for the old stuff. Mr. Washie, we salute you! And all your relations, cousins, and in-laws.

  161. Stephanie! i love your mr washie too.. that is fantastic.. and from what i remember here in the states.. Sears/Kenmore.. have a life time guarantee.. i’m not sure if that means your life time it should last.. but something like that.. wow.. i hope Joe does get the right part and can make him keep going:-) thanks so much for that wonderful smile that i got from reading your post.. toodles.. karola

  162. Get well soon Mr. Washie! Our first washing machine was 11 years old when it finally died. It was a GE washer and none of the important working parts died, instead the pipes inside the machine rusted out! It would have cost a fortune to fix so we had to get a new one. Sigh! The GE dryer that we bought at the same time is still happily drying our clothes and has been very faithful…. except for the time I accidently threw a metal hanger into it and shredded it’s heating element. That was a very bad day!! I have a great local repair guy who went and got a new element and it’s happily drying our clothes again. The other commenters are right about one thing. They don’t make em like they used to. Our new washer has a plastic tub instead of metal, and I’ve been told that most new machines tend to last about 5 years. How sad! It certainly beats the laundrymat though. We did that for quite a few years. YUCK! So I wish Joe well on his mission. Hopefully, Mr Washie will be up and washing again in no time!!!

  163. A few years ago, we retired a Kenmore Heavy Duty that dated to 1983. I’m not sure why we replaced it instead of repairing it because (a) the new, fancy imported thingy we got has broken down 3 times and (b) the repairman told us that the old Kenmore was a better machine than anything on the market these days. Apparently, it’s entirely true that they don’t make them like they used to. Sigh. Good luck with the new parts.

  164. Mr. Washie sounds like my fridge back in Oklahoma. It was my MIL’s and they gave it to us when we bought our first house in 96…then it was nearly 20 years old, and the damn thing is still running…it’s also a Kenmore…damn fine machines they make over at that sear’s place, eh?

  165. Good luck with Mr. Washie. The old ones really are the best. My mom’s has lasted 25 years. It’s currently out of commission, hopefully she’ll get it fixed. It’s a maytag and she is very particular about how it is used. I don’t even know how I got away with felting a Booga bag in it.

  166. I think I may have had a distant relative on wheels! This spring we sent my 1988 Oldsmobile 98 to the Big Parking Lot in the Sky. It came from my in-laws (I LOVE my hub’s folks) when they felt the need to replace it at age 7. And it carried us around for nine more years (including a 1-hour commute each way, every day!)
    I miss my Great North American Mushmobile.
    Speedy recovery and Long(er) Life to Mr. Washie!

  167. Reminds me of the story about the 60 year old axe. The one that the blade has been replaced 3 times and the handle 2 times….

  168. Oh, you give me hope that my 16-year-young Kenmore Heavy Duty washer (and dryer) will be around for quite some time! With the exception of a broken off knob – I use a pair of pliers to turn it, as I’m too dang lazy to go to a parts store and get another one – it’s never given me the slightest problem. Yes, the newer ones are pretty, and come in different colors with nice little light-up controls, but I love my ‘ugly’ Kenmore!

  169. My Kenmore did its final belly up dance two years ago, after 28 years of excellent service. I blame it on the kids and all the stuff that they don’t take out of their pockets. We bought a new Kenmore, Heavy Duty. It is a lovely thing.

  170. You sound as attached to your Kenmore washer as I am to my Kenmore sewing machine. I have to admit, I am a little teary! Kenmore’s really are the workhorses of appliances and I raise a glass to Mr. Washie! Wishin’ the ol’ guy a very speedy recovery!

  171. You must have good water where you live — I’m sure it helps a lot not to have lots of salt & minerals in your water. My folks’ washers last 10-15 years & they’re usu. Maytag.

  172. If Mr Washie, God bless him, ever needs a loving partner, and fancies the older lady, he can hang out with my 45, yes 45, year old tumble drier! Bought shortly before the birth of my sister in 1961, snigger, it is still tumbling to this day. The drier is in semi-retirement thanks to central heating but does get a twice weekly spin of undergarments through out wet and miserable winter.
    I love plain and simple stockette stich, post that gansey over here and I’ll send you the ‘Flirty Ruffles Shawl’ from Fiddlesticks Knitting and you can complete the ruffle finish, 2200+ stiches 15 purl 15 knit……. This is what happens reading this blog, the links are interesting and factual, ie I didn’t know what a ‘Patsy’ was until I read Yarnharlot, but the yarn links are too tempting hence a trip to Fiddlesticks Knitting and overseas purchase. It has been much admired though.
    Good look with Mr Washie.

  173. A solution for those “purl 4 together” or “knit 7 together” points in lace knitting: use a small crochet hook to complete the stitch, then put the completed stitch back on your knitting needles and continue on.
    I hope this helps!
    A beautiful blog; thanks for the inspiration.

  174. Well, it’s not a Kenmore…or a washer, but recently we had to get rid of a refrigerator in my mother’s basement. Not because it didn’t work, no it was still going strong, and I felt so guilty as it was hauled away, but it was a frig that my parents bought *used* when they were first married. In 1955. It sat in my parents’ basement for as long as I could remember and held soda, beer and many a thawing Thanksgiving turkey. Whatever didn’t fit in the frig in the kitchen. It had a cubbie hole for a freezer, but was a wonderful spare frig for many years. They certainly do not make them like that anymore!

  175. I LOVE Kenmore washing machines. I’ve had one ever since I was a little kid (not the same one mind you!) The one that my parents bought was used for about 30 years then died (right after my Daddy come to think of it!) Then I moved and got my very own large Kenmore. With a dryer no less. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I adore my dryer. So naturally when I moved and the new house had no washer or dryer, I bought my very own, King size, Kenmore washer and dryer set. That set will be with me until they carry me away feet first! I can actually wash all my bedding in ONE LOAD, and the machine isn’t even working hard!
    I will keep your family and Mr. Washie in my prayers that he may be fixed and work on for many more years to come!
    Ann in MD

  176. Poor Mr. Washie. I think Kenmore’s have a tendency to become part of the family. My mother owns one, and her’s is abused to no end, but it’s still going, I think. I plan to have my own in a few short years. I’m saving up for a new one and it’s mate the dryer.
    I’m thrilled that Mr. Washie is handling all of this so well, and I hope he will make it through surgery with ease.

  177. “Get well soon Mr Washie”..a bouquet of pipes for you maybe? I only had my first Washing machine 14 years ago ..oh boy do I love them .Mum had hands and a mangle. When my first one was installed I watched the loads in a dream-world.

  178. What a cute story! This reminds me of when I moved in to an apt and the stove was missing the little window in the front. I don’t know how you go about missing part like that. The guy came to check it out and whoah, the stove was from like 1975. They didn’t make the parts anymore and in the end, we got a nice, brand new stove. I hope Mr Washie can get fixed!

  179. Best wishes to Mr. Washie on his recovery. Something tells me that he should have a fine vintage of detergent when he pulls through.

  180. Is Mr. Washie a 70 series? Because I have a Kenmore Heavy Duty 70 series in my garage. Since the house was built in ’76, I’m guessing the washer is about that old. It works great, but we’re starting to get rust spots. It’s a very sad thing. Hopefully, Mr. Washie will feel better soon. Hooray Sears Kenmore!

  181. My parents bought a new washer and dryer when I was around seven years old. When I was in my 30s [20 years ago], we gave them–still working–to some friends of mine who were getting married. As far as I know, they are still working.

  182. I agree that Mr. Washie deserves a beer.
    And whoever was making appliances for Sears way back ought to get a medal or something. When I was a kid we had this Kenmore gas dryer. It outlasted about five washers. My sister has it now, I think, and it still works. It is at least 30 years old, if not older.

  183. Does it amaze you that you can get over 200 people to care about and comment on the health of your clothes washing machine? Never doubt your power, Ms. Harlot!

  184. Can’t you just hear the movie announcer saying “the poignant story of a Woman and Her Washing Machine! Coming soon to a theatre near you!” Terrific post, and I sure hope Mr. Washie makes an amazing recovery!
    My GE is in it’s second home, too. It’s about 30 years old. I pray every day. It’s a workhorse, too. And I had the same reaction when I called the GE folks to find out how old mine was! Took at least 30 minutes for them to find the serial number in their records…And yes, Joe, as an accountant, I read numbers every day…Sears lady, we really CAN read them!

  185. You have to CLEAN a washing machine filter?? Please tell me how to do this. Maybe that’s why my last Mr. Washie only lasted five years.

  186. When we became homeowners the first thing we did after closing was go to Sears and get a Kenmore washer and dryer–it was a no-brainer because we had both grown up with such. However, the fridge was a hand-me-down from the in-laws until it met its demise, to be replaced with a fridge we were “appliance sitting” for a friend in the middle of relocating. The sewing machine which was a pre-wedding gift (sewed my gown) is a Kenmore too. Best wishes to Mr. Washie and all his dear families.
    P.S. Beer is recognized currency in CO too.

  187. Whoa!!
    Be verrry careful.
    You know what happens to computers who have magnets placed too close to them.

  188. Oh my god woman – is that your beautiful lace triangle shawl sitting right next to a 28-year-old greasy machine thingy?! Oh, I get it, this is your picture for the Amazing Lace contest wherein you need to ‘pose’ your lace in an unusual manner. You did a great job making it look like one of Joe’s wipe rags.

  189. My mom’s dryer joined the family just before my sister did. When I was in high school (early 70’s), it got menopause and got cranky. We had this extra routine, like jumpstarting a car. You toss the wet clothes in, grab one of the interior fins and push to get it started, then quickly slam the door. If you were lucky, it took. Dad replaced the belt many times over the years and we just kept on. It’s still working now and Mom’s about to move into assisted living. Oh, and my sister, she’s 45. Oh, and Mr. Dryer’s first name is also Kenmore. Coincidence?

  190. i think they made them all to last in those days. my mom had a washingmachine that my grandmother bought for her when i was 18 months old, and she finally sold it when she moved into an apartment after my dad died. i’m 40, and my mom moved 5 years ago. that washmachine was 33 years old, with very few minor repairs. the dryer was just as old! i hope i hold up as well

  191. I have been in the woods since Monday but I have to tell you that the avocado w/d my parents bought in 1970 was sold with our family home just this past June. 6 kids of towels, jeans, sheets, socks. Of course Sears.

  192. You are lucky to have Mr. Washie! I-unfortunately-was not so lucky. Our washer(top of the line Kenmore) is about 8 yo-and has been trouble since the beginning. My husband has worked on it repeatedly. I even had Sears service it a few times. It would keep getting knocked off balance. It was supposed to be able to wash something like 16-20 towels. The serviceman had the nerve to tell me I was washing too many towels & I would only put 8 in at the most. It constantly floods the basement floor so I now have to sit and watch it. The computer panel is shot so I have to watch & turn off the water supply or it floods(which it just did…) The dryer is even younger and even when I set it for a certain amount of time, it senses when things are dry and shuts off-only trouble is
    that nothing is ever dry… So I have to keep turning it on again and again. Needless to say but the new washer & dryer are being delivered early this week and THEY are not Kenmore. My dishwasher is less than 8 years old(also Kenmore) and it died last month so I am waiting for the company that makes my duel fuel stove(Dacor) to come out with their new dishwasher. But I am hesitating because the broiler in it died & IT is only 2 1/2 yo. You don’t want to know how much we paid for that. As the old saying goes “They don’t make them like they used to!”

  193. My Mr Dryer was the mate to yours!! Lasted over 30 years and died this Summer. Got a new Kenmore but his door likes to pop open at will when his tummy is too full!!!

  194. My Kenmore Heavy Duty (1978) just died this month. It was no longer *mine*, but was still in the family. I gave it to my newlywed daughter (3 years younger than the washer) a year ago when I foolishly decided I wanted a front loader. I regretted it almost immediately. Kenmores ain’t what they used to be and my new front loader doesn’t wash worth beans.
    Do all you can to restore Mr. Washie. He is irreplaceable!

  195. I can sympathize with you about Mr Washie. My wife and I were married 2 years with two small boys when we got our first washer and dryer set. It was 1978, my folks had Maytag so of course that’s what we got. Being a Navy family our faithful companions have been all over the world with us. They have been adjusted to work on 50hz 220V of Italy and then switched back. They served us well until the death of the dryer, a burnt out heating element I’m sure. The washer is still going strong. We bought a new washer and dryer set and they work fine, but their will all ways be a special spot in my hart for our first machines. Now that that has been said; Any one want a 1978 Maytag Washing machine in excellent working condition just email me back.

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