Chicano Poet

Friday, December 11, 2009

WCW’s Washing Machine: The Story Behind “To Elsie”
by William Carlos Williams

The story goes that William Carlos Williams was sitting at his kitchen
table one day when he glanced through the doorway at his cleaning
lady standing at the washing machine doing her chores. His response
to that scene was the poem “To Elsie”*

So I decided to google “washing machines of the 1950’s”. Sure enough
I was bestowed with brand after brand. So I googled images, ah, washing
machines of the 50’s. Next I got an airplane ticket and headed to Paterson.
to research the papers of WCW. After a few weeks I found the receipt for
the particular machine which Elsie was using to wash WCW’s dirty laundry.
Finally, after many dead ends I had to hire a private detective to see what
landfill the machine had ended up at. Several thousand dollars later the
unkempt Jersey detective told me, to my surprise of course, that the
washing machine still existed (almost sixty years later) and was located
at a West Texas junk. I traveled to Roscoe, Texas pulling a trailer behind
my Dodge Ram hoping I could buy the relic. After much negotiation I
acquired the piece of literary history for thirty-five bucks. It sits proudly
in my home office, next to my cpu and printer.

*italicized paragraph is from American Poetry Review 2009
by Christian C. Thompson


At 12:26 PM, Blogger Cioara Andrei said...

Foarte interesant subiectul postat de tine. M-am uitat pe blogul tau si imi place ce am vazut.Cu siguranta am sa il mai vizitez.
O zi buna!

At 1:17 PM, Blogger RC said...

Glad you like the post,thank you.

At 3:33 AM, Blogger Ivan Donn Carswell said...

Such dedication will not go unnoticed Reyes, you can buy my first clothes wringer used from 1938 - 45 for simple dedication of a mere poem by you to Ivan!

At 9:47 AM, Blogger RC said...

Ivan,I really really want to buy your clothes wringer it's just that the cost of having to ship it from Australia to the United States might prove a wee bit too expensive,but I am seriously thinking about it.


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