Monday, July 27, 2009

Alert the Media

Hell has officially frozen over.

Ironing.jpg (67230 bytes)

Yes, folks, I dusted off the iron, gave a shot of WD-40 to the ironing board so it would open again and I ironed a shirt for myself. Harsh times call for harsh measures. We were on our way to the retirement dinner and the shirt I wanted to wear had been in the "to be put away" pile too long. Miraculously, the "ironing genes," no matter how weak, returned and I remembered how to iron a shirt. It's like riding a bicycle, without the bad knees.

I know people who love to iron. I was raised by someone who loves to iron. My mother was an ironing fool. She would iron anything from the most delicate shirts to diapers. She ironed dish cloths. She ironed sheets. She ironed towels. She ironed underwear. She ironed handkerchiefs. She probably even ironed socks. And she was so good at it that she didn't want to watch my bungling attempts at trying anything complicated so when I begged to have the chance to iron (yes, amazing as that seems today, I actually at one time begged to be allowed to iron), I only remember being given flat things to iron, never anything to sink my teeth into and present a challenge to me. But I'm sure I was able to even iron creases into handkerchiefs and in my mind's eye, I imagine that my mother would take the handkerchiefs out of the stack when I wasn't looking and re-iron them to her satisfaction.

At one time we had one of those mangle ironers, which made doing the flat stuff easier.

mangle.jpg (13235 bytes)

I don't remember it looking exactly like this, but this was the closest I could find doing a Google search. It stood in our kitchen for years and I remember my mother sitting at it, surrounded by billows of sheets, running them through the rollers.

The difference between what we had back in the 1940s and the machine pictured above is that I know the legs of our machine were enclosed, not open like they are in this photo. The reason I know this is because my sister was a very bad eater. She dawdled and dawdled and the rule was that you couldn't leave the table until you'd finished your meal, so she would be sitting at the table for a long time after everyone else had left. Years later when my mother was trying to sell the mangle and was cleaning it up, she found bits of food remnants around the top of the tiny opening to the legs of the mangle. When she asked my now-adult sister about it, she confessed that the legs were probably filled with rotted food because after everyone left her alone in the kitchen, she would stuff her dinner down the legs of the mangle.

(Idle thought: why do you suppose they named a machine that was designed to make fabric smooth a "mangle"??)

PKCIRONING.jpg (102442 bytes)Peggy is an ironer. Just look at her in that crisply ironed blouse she's wearing while doing the rest of her ironing on our patio, back in 2000. I know it's nice to wear clothes that look like this, but isn't "the wrinkled look" all the rage these days? (Please?)

I actually ironed something at her house once, or tried to. "Are you sure you know how to use my iron?" she asked me. I scoffed--what did you need to know to use an iron? Well, you need an engineering degree to master her iron. Not only does she use the "wrong" side of the ironing board (she's right-handed), but this very expensive iron has so many dials and settings and cords and gadgets to it, that I think I finally gave up and let her iron whatever it was I was trying to iron for me. (I obviously learned at my mother's knee how to look helpless enough that I could get some devotee of the iron to do things for me so I wouldn't have to!)

1 comment:

bozoette said...

My gramma had a mangle -- I was scared of it because of the steam that belched out of it when she ironed damp sheets. My mom let me iron hankys; later she taught me the proper way to iron a man's shirt, because I would need to know that skill when I married. Hah. Not so much -- Joe irons his own shirts!