Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



All of My Friends

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Iron Lady

Mom. All pressed and ready to go.
My mom was an iron-er.
A Demon iron-er.
She ironed everything.
Shirts. Pants. Dresses. Shorts. T-shirts. Socks. Pillowcases. Handkerchiefs. Sheets. Pajamas.
I kid you not.
Everything.
And when I say ‘she’, I mean her girls.
From the age of eight, I had my own little ironing pile.
Admittedly, it was the more easily ironed items. Pillow cases, handkerchiefs, and  . . . flat stuff.
But it was all mine.
No other hands could – or would - touch it.
Ever.
In fact, it would still be there waiting for me, even if I’d been hiding in the barn all day.
Ahem . . .
Mom was very particular about her ironing. Everything had to be done just so.
I was fortunate in that my items left very little scope for mistakes.
My sister wasn’t nearly so lucky.
I can still see my mom preparing things to iron.
She would sprinkle everything with water, via a spritzer attachment atop a seven-up bottle.
Incidentally, we thought that said spritzer would be great fun in a water fight.
It wasn’t.
Moving on . . .
Then she would carefully roll the sprinkled items into a tight bundle and put them into a plastic bag.
Then put the plastic bag into the fridge.
I know.
I thought it was weird, too.
She said something about ‘keeping things moist’.
Who listened.
One by one, the items were pulled from the bag and ironed.
Then hung.
Then put away.
There was a definite process.
And one didn’t dare skip any of the steps.
Because Mom always knew.
Even if one folded up the handkerchiefs into tiny, tiny little squares.
Tiny.
Those gimlet eyes saw through everything.
Sigh.
Though most everything these days is permanent press, I still iron.
Sometimes.
Okay, I admit it, the bottom of my ironing basket has never actually been seen.
There is a dress down there that's a women's size three!
It’s like an archeological dig.
I miss my Mom.

21 comments:

  1. Hubby and i were talking about those spritzers our moms had just yesterday. I want one!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mom had a 'rose' that screwed on to the neck of a pop bottle...it didn't spritz...you sort of shook it over the clothes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My mum had the same!
      I used a plastic spray bottle available in supermarkets in the gardening section.

      Delete
    2. I always wanted the 'sprinkle' job. But mom said I got the clothes too wet. Sigh.

      Delete
  3. As it happens, Wendy is also a championship ironer--who really likes it. Or so she claims. I think it's an illness, but what do I know?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It definitely sounds like an illness to me. Hmmm . . . what would we call it? 'Ironitis'? 'Pressaria'? Or just 'Strange'? :)

      Delete
  4. I am in awe of accomplished ironers. It takes patience and strength. Loved this one Diane!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Donna! She sure had both! :)

      Delete
  5. I remember when I first started college. I came home with a pillow case full of laundry, fully expecting Mom to include it with the other stuff but she took the time to show me how to separate colors, wash those separate colors, then to fire up the iron and press everything. I was a little upset as it was only a weekend and I was missing out on some serious partying with some of my friends. However, looking back, Mom taught me some skills that I use today. Of course it still takes me better than double the time to iron a shirt than Mom took. At least I learned how to do it. Thanks, Mom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those teaching moments that we treasure (and use) that we really didn't want to learn! Moms are the best!

      Delete
  6. My mother in law ironed like that too - even underwear. She was less than enthusiastic about my ironing habits - which is less than stellar.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You've never seen the bottom of your ironing basket?? I have a friend who recently found a baby dress size two that she said had been missing for ages. You guessed it...in the bottom of the ironing basket. Owner of the baby dress is 19 years old!
    Another friend is more like your mum, irons everything. She once tried to sleep on a bed freshly made with sheets straight off the line. Absolutely could not fall asleep until she stripped the bed and ironed those sheets and pillowcases, then remade the bed.
    I never ironed a sheet in my life although I used to do pillowcases. No more though, nowadays I don't iron anything at all. I don't even own a dress. Back in the day when my kids were in school, I ironed everything that needed ironing the same day it came off the line. Everything was put away before dinner time, and each of the girls school dresses (uniform) had a clean handkerchief in the pocket, each of the boys school shorts (uniform) had a clean hanky also. I never ironed underwear or socks and after one too many complaints about his shirts I never ironed my husbands army uniforms either. He did them himself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds like you did your time in just ironing those uniforms! Relax. You definitely earned it! :)

      Delete
  8. I remember the sprinkle pop bottle thing! I have had irons with such inefficient sprayers and steam that I have sometimes wished for one! Ironically - I probably do less ironing than ever before, yet my current iron is the nicest one I ever had.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! That's me as well. My daughter and son-in-law just bought me a new iron. The best ever. I've used it once . . .

      Delete
  9. Okay, I'm weird, but ironing is one of my favourite jobs, if you can actually have a favourite housekeeping job ... and the more wrinkled the item, the better I feel when I've steamed it into submission :)

    I'm not TOTALLY weird; as per my comment a few days ago, I very much dislike vacuuming, and for that matter any other kind of floor cleaning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sending you my ironing basket. I wish I could send you my floors. Sigh.

      Delete
  10. I used to iron alot...not like that though who knew?!? I gave it up but there is nothing better than slipping between nice, crisp, cool sheets!

    ReplyDelete

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