I can remember back during my childhood years, doing things that today are not done. I remember my family living the way they were financially able to live. We were considered to be poor people, back in those days. I didn't realize it, because that way of life, was all I knew.
We had a cast iron stove in the front room, with a flue that went up into the ceiling and out the roof of the house. Once every six months or so a load of coal would be delivered, which my family bought to use to burn in the stove. It was our way of heating and cooking in those days. I learned very early that a stove burned, by testing it for myself. The smell of the coal burning wasn't great, and if you turned the flue the wrong way the house would fill with smoke.
Sometimes, when I felt wicked, I would go outside and climb around on the pile of coal. This would get me as well as my clothes jet black. Naturally, my grandmother wouldn't be too happy about that. It was very hard to wash out of clothes and off your skin. My grandmother, washed clothes in a big galvanized tub of water, with a rub board and her hands. Then she would rinse them in another large tub of water, wring each piece out with her hands. After that she would carry the clothes out and hang them on a clothes line to dry. So, I guess you could say, seeing me with black face, hands and clothes didn't make her day at all.