Clothing - Ironing

I’m supposed to be thinking (writing) about clothing and how my wardrobe, or my husband’s, has changed over the years. For some reason, thoughts on clothing have led to thoughts on laundry, which have led to thoughts on IRONING. Yes, that major bugaboo and pain; the process of using a very hot, heavy object to smooth the wrinkles out of fabric and then put in deep wrinkles (creases) in selected spots.

My attitude closely mimics the following:

Erma Bombeck said, “My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.”  

Then, there’s Phyllis Diller who said, “I'm eighteen years behind in my ironing. There's no use doing it now, it doesn't fit anybody I know.”  

That’s right. It’s a pain and put it off as long as possible.

My mother must have hated ironing as much as I did because she taught me to do it at the ripe old age of 10.  This job took place in the basement. The only advantage of this location was that it was cooler in the summer. The ironing board was heavy and had to be set up and put away each time.  Why? This was the basement. There was lots of room. Why does it have to be as neat as the living room? This was all part of my training to become a future “lady of the house”.  This status included learning first aide for burns.

My mother was not one to indulge in many luxuries. However, when it became available, she bought (or had my father buy) an ironing machine. It was big and white and had a matching chair. When opened, it revealed a large roller that was about 4 feet wide. The controls were operated by knee. Mainly we used it for sheets, pillowcases, and tablecloths. It was awkward for my father’s shirts, but we tried.  I do say “we” because at first it was my mother’s machine to play with until she tired of the novelty and then it became mine. 

A minor deviation from the hot topic at hand: I was known to find ways to use my father’s tools (not allowed and therefore fun) in performing the womanly chores assigned by my mother (ugh!).  Mounting a power drill in a vise, inserting a polishing wheel, and then using it to polish shoes were great!

Fast forward to my own motherhood. YES, I paid my kids to do the ironing.  Now they hate it, too.  One daughter solved the problem brilliantly by marrying a Navy man. He could iron.

Fast forward again. One of the most rewarding inventions of modern society (the first being indoor plumbing and the second being air conditioning) is “No Iron” shirts.  Of course, this led to that annoying and necessary loud buzzer that tells me the dryer is about to stop. If I do not pay attention to that, all bets are off on the “No Iron”.

Now back to the original topic of clothing. My husband has some very nice old shirts with which he is reluctant to part.  Therefore, I taught HIM to iron. It takes him about 30 minutes for one shirt. His appreciation of my past efforts and the glories of “No Iron” have grown tremendously.

Betty Ago


Betty is a real person who resides in one of our Brookdale entry fee communities. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Brookdale Senior Living.


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