It’s a laundry paddle that belonged to Daniele’s paternal grandmother and was used from around 1900 to 1920 in their home in the town of Domevre in the Lorraine province of France.
The grandmother had a wash basin in an alcove off the kitchen and paddled the dirty clothes in it with soap, and with water heated on a kitchen stove.
The home was in the family until the 1980’s and Daniele, and brothers Henri and Paul stayed there in the summers. Paul remembers a large concrete basin in the local stream that women would use for laundering. They brought their own paddles.
Some men would take baths in this basin when the women weren’t doing their laundry. I remember visiting Daniele’s’ mother in her apartment building in Nancy in the 1970’s. In the basement there was a cold damp dim laundry room with big sinks and a wall hose to fill them. I’m sure the tenants had paddles. The sinks were probably supplanted by coin-operated machines sometime in the 70’s.
WHAT IS IT?
(Editor’s note: Palisades resident Howard Yonet has an interesting collection of curios from around the world and with his permission, Circling the News is publishing one a week. About the collector: Dr. Howard Yonet was born in Brooklyn in 1934 and attended Brooklyn College. He went to Baylor Medical School and then returned to do an internship at Bellevue Hospital. Yonet completed his residency at the Manhattan V.A. and the Montefiore Hospital. During this time he went skiing in Vermont and the Catskills, and while traveling found barns filled with early American pieces. This led to his interest in American Antiques.
In 1965, he married Daniele, who was originally from Nancy, France. During the Vietnam War, Yonet was drafted as a medical officer and stationed in Landstuhl, Germany (1966-1969). This was close to the French border, which meant he and Daniele and could visit her family.
While abroad, the Yonets took weekend trips through France and Italy, purchasing many interesting pieces at flea markets.
The family settled in Pacific Palisades in 1970 and Yonet practiced general radiology until 2006. He continued to acquire antiques and collectables at estate and garage sales and the Salvation Army Store. He also enjoyed looking for collectibles while traveling in Montana, Idaho, Colorado and Massachusetts. Daniele’s family helped add to his collection.)