Thursday, July 29, 2010


Will has the day off from his job at the Y, so he just left to go to the movies with a couple of friends.  Five minutes after he left, he came back, ran upstairs and back down again, and threw a wadded up tee shirt in the dryer. 

Me:  What are you doing?

Him.  I'm fluffing up this shirt.

Me:  Why?

Him:  Because I have to wear it tonight to Parent's Night.

I said nothing as he ran back out the door....I'm getting really good at saying nothing...but it's 2:10 p.m. and he's fluffing his shirt to wear tonight...which by then, the shirt will be cold and wrinkled again in the dryer that stopped hours before. 

Of course, he will start that dryer up again as he's getting ready to go.

And this makes me think about ironing.  A lost 

When I was about 5,  I can remember sitting in the living room of our house in Midland, and helping my mama mist the items of clothing that went into a big bag before we took it to the Ironing Lady.  We would all pile in the car.......and not put on seat belts....because there were none.......and drive to the other side of town to drop the big bag of damp clothes off at the lady's house.  That must have been a real luxury for my mother.  We didn't have a maid but we had an ironing lady.

By the time my sisters and I were in upper elementary, my mother had taught us how to do laundry and iron our own clothes.  My mother was working outside the home....had a maid off and on, but no ironing lady.  Although I can't remember being taught to iron, I can't remember not knowing how.  And I also can't remember not ever thinking my clothes didn't need to be pressed before I put them on.  I am a crease girl from way back.  I guess as permanent press and synthetic clothing came along, ironing wasn't as necessary.  But I'm the girl that melted that synthetic clothing because I ironed it anyway. 

When I was a single girl, I would take my jeans to the dry cleaners to have them heavy starched.  The ultimate.  But everything else I ironed myself.  Ironing was just part of getting ready....another step in the process.

One time when I was in high school, I went to pick up my friend and co-cheerleader before a football game.  Our uniform in cooler weather was to wear a long sleeved white cotton blouse under our sleeveless top.  Of course, mine had a razor sharp crease going down the sleeves because I had ironed and starched it that way.  When my friend got in the car, I was shocked at her wrinkled blouse.  This was the wadded up wet for a week wrinkled.

I calmly asked her if she wanted to go back in and iron her shirt.  Yes, I did.  I thought maybe she was running late and didn't have time...but I was willing to wait and be late....and I mean, her shirt was ridiculously wrinkled.  And it was daylight.

Her response appalled me....." mom's not home."

Meaning she didn't know how to iron?  She didn't know where the ironing board was?  Her mom ironed for her?  I never!  And she was so totally not bothered by it.  Obviously I was bothered by it...I still remember it after all these years. Huge chunks of my childhood memories are missing but I remember this.  ha.

So all this is to say, while I never ironed pillowcases....I do like my clothes ironed.  I'm an "iron it as I wear it" kind of ironer.  Although my mother-in-law had the basket of clothes to be ironed...and would spend an afternoon ironing.  That, I have to admit, seemed like way too much of a chore.

My children?  They know how to iron.  I always made sure there was an ironing board and iron readily their own for upstairs.  But do they?

No.  They prefer the dryer method.  And they tell me nobody irons.  Clothes are supposed to look wrinkled.  Alrighty.

Apparently the gene for desiring sharp creases didn't get passed down.  Or I'm older than dirt and need to get with it.


  1. My Aunt Rose used to have to iron 35 shirts a week. 5 brothers, 7 white shirts per week per brother - 35 shirts. And she could go to the picture show until she got through. So the day before she mixsed the starch, soaked all those shirts, then put them all in the ice box. Took them out in the morning (Sunday), sprayed them with water and ironed. But every single day of the week her brothers were starched and ironed and I'm sure made some kind of impression. At 96 she can still iron better than I can.

  2. While we have never met, I suddenly feel 'kin' to you through this blog. Like you told me story, haha. My boys used to 'iron' in the dryer all the time. Still do for t-shirts but now, that they are in the 20's, they suddenly like their dress shirts and pants pressed well. And while they know how to, they still prefer mom to do it as they can see the difference when I do it. Clean lines, you know? Anyhow, my daughter, though I have tried, still will ask me to show her... again, how to iron the complicated white button down shirt she bought. Guess the gene didn't reproduce either there! Her husband will iron for her!
    Btw, I am working on a teaching video on 'how to iron' after watching too many that don't do a very good job at it! Should I let you know when I post it? For your kids??? Not like they need it as they got you.

  3. So inquiring minds are left to the imagination...did you iron Will's shirt. It's hard for me to image that you could hold yourself back.

    We had on of those cork sprinklers that you stuck in a coke bottle to sprinkle the clothes. Our maid taught me how to iron-Frances.

    I remember in the 70's when we all had our jeans heavily starched and they were skin-tight and we were skinny. Booze was the only reason why we didn't notice how uncomfortable it must have been; I certainly don't remember it. I do, however, remember before a date one evening that it took my mom, dad, and I with me laying on the bed to zip my jeans. Still don't remember any discomfort.