Friday, February 12, 2010

Tuesdays' Chore of the Day

It stands to reason that if Wash Day was every Monday, Tuesday should be Ironing Day for every homemaker. I recall mom's electric iron and board set up in the basement. She had a green glass bottle used for the purpose of sprinkling water over the clothing. The bottle had a removable top with holes in it; the clothes would be sprinkled with water and afterward placed in a clear heavy duty plastic bag she kept nearby. It would hold the moisture in as she ironed one shirt, then she could easily reach for the next almost without stopping. A one woman assembly line! As I got older, she started me on learning to iron - dad's white hankies were the easiest. I progressed to ironing his white shirts later on - much more difficult!

The following is an excerpt about ironing from a neat "find" - It's from a vintage 1945 book called The Egg and I, by Betty MacDonald.

"Ironing with sad irons has nothing at all to do with preconceived ideas about ironing. It is a process whereby you grab a little portable handle and run over to the stove and plug it into an iron which is always covered with black. Then you run back to the ironing board and get black on your clean pillowcase. You take the iron over to the sink and wipe it off and it is of course too cool, by now, to do any good to the dirty pillowcase so you put it back on the stove and repeat the process until your husband comes in and wants to know where in HELL his lunch is.
Bob was irritatingly casual about my washing and ironing and was continually putting on clean clothes, when he could get them away from me. I got to be just like a dog with a bone over anything I had washed and ironed. It wasn't that I wanted him to act like the advertisements and come dancing into the kitchen in his underwear clutching a clean shirt and yelling "no tattle-tale gray this week, little Soft-hands!" It was just that I wanted him to be conscious of the fact that it took a terrific amount of back-breaking labor to keep us in clean clothes and occasionally to comment on it."

I have offered this book for sale in my Dark Horse Primitives etsy shop, with FREE SHIPPING in the USA, if anyone might be interested. It is hilariously funny, indicative of the times Betty lived in. She was divorced after a failed poultry business only 3 years after marrying her husband, though this is not mentioned, of course, in the book. She has written other books I have not read yet, some promise to be equally as humorous! You can find out more about this author by googling Betty MacDonald.


Joycee said...

Yes, yes, yes...I remember all of that from my midwest childhood. Mom would have a huge basket of starched clothes that had been "sprinkled down." It was a full day job getting it all done. Things sure have changed, but I'm an antique too...I still iron, just not the way Mom did! Have a Sweet Valentine's Day...

Chatty Crone said...

It is so amazing that we hardly iron at all anymore! Glad they are easier too. Boy our moms sure worked harder then we had to do - didn't they?


Carmen C. said...

Oh my how I HATE to iron, lol! I do love the old irons like you have shown there in your pic, and I would even buy one just for looks, but not to iron with:)It's just one of those things I'm NO good at!!!!

^..^Corgidogmama said...

Lordy...I dig out my iron...possibly...once a year!
If I can't take it out of the dryer and hang it up, maybe a simple shake...then it's gone! is so different now. Daily chores are today seemingly, nonexistent!

ocmist said...

Since my dad was sick for so long before died when we were so young, my Mom took in ironing to do to make money for us, and I remember very well the ironing board. I know HOW to iron, but have maybe done it once or twice in the past 5 years or more...

I even remember using a washboard when we went camping... I wonder how many kids have even HEARD of those?

On our Road Trip, we saw some OLD wringer washing machines, too. One had a round tub and looked just like the one my grandma had!

I loved the movie that they made from that book. It is one of my favorites. That was sad to know that they got a divorce though, afterwards.

ocmist said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I LOVE the picture of that old iron... My Mom collected them and had several really neat ones. My sister still uses one of them as a door stop to keep the bathroom door open when no one is in there.

Angela said...

Hey Monica!

I've seen irons like that in old movies but I don't belive my mom ever used one like that. I have an iron but I only use it when I'm sewing or some craft! It's been a very long time since my iron has been used! My husband will not wear a dress shirt that is 100% cotton. Wrinkle free is the only way he will wear them! Thank God!


Troy said...

My mother made all of us boys learn how to iron our own shirts. Once she was sure we could do it right, she did them for us, but she wanted to make sure we could do it.

I think secretly she enjoyed ironing, because it was the only time all day she got to stay in one place.

When I was a teenager, we got our first TV and my mom would set up the ironing board so she could watch while she was ironing. Looking back, I think that was the only time she watched TV back then.

She had a large tupperware tumbler with a sprinkler top on it that she used to moisten clothes.

Keetha Broyles said...

I just want you to know that I think of you EVERY time I use a bath towel or stick them in the washer!!!! I'm just SOOOOOO stinkin' thankful that you gave me the idea to use the vinegar FIRST and BY ITSELF, for it has SOLVED my putrid towel dilemma of at LEAST 5 year duration!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Chatty Crone said...