Friday, April 25, 2008

Why I Don't Like to Iron - Part One - Post 8

Actually, there are some things I don't mind ironing -- church linens, in particular. There is something very satisfying about laundering and ironing the linens used in our communion services. However, that is about the only exception to my long-standing aversion to ironing. Not that I haven't done my share of ironing in my life; it's just that I find the act of ironing to be a most distressing activity -- and there's a reason.

If you read my first post, you know that I am a 73 yr. old woman. Many a tub, line or dryer-full of laundry has passed through my hands in the last 60+ years (Mama trusted me with doing the family washing from the time I was 9 or 10). Until I was a teenager, however, Mama always did the family ironing.

Keep in mind, when I was a kid, there were NO wash and wear, NO polyester, NO permanent press-tumble-dry-low types of material in our clothing. Just about everything was cotton; stiff, wrinkly, durable cotton. What wasn't cotton was linen or that new-fangled rayon (which could be carefully hand-washed) or wool, which was not washed. However, about the only wool clothing in our family were some blankets, our winter coats and Daddy's suits, and I suppose those went to a dry cleaning establishment.

Oh, lest I forget -- how could I? -- there were no automatic washing machines or gas or electric clothes dryers, either. Our laundering was done in a General Electric wringer washer in the following manner:

1. gather and sort the clothes (white, light, dark, work clothes);

2. fill the washing machine with hot water (getting the hot water is another story entirely!), and the three #2 galvanized rinsing tubs with cool water;

3. grate the P & G bar soap into the machine tub, and let it agitate until it made suds (this was before Tide and the like);

4. add clothes, starting with whites, of course (each pile of clothes was washed separately in the same way) and agitate;

5. put clothes through the wringer from the washing machine into the first rinse water, pummel up and down with scrawny hands and arms-- which by the time the laundry was done were more wrinkled than the clothes;

6. swing the wringer around, wring into the second rinse tub, pummel, swing the wringer, wring into the Mrs. Stewart's Bluing rinse, pummel again, swing the wringer, and wring for the last time);

7. put into a basket and carry to the clothes line (which had to be wiped down, first);

8. hang clothes in a specific order with clothes pins, let dry, take down, fold into a basket and bring into the house.

Oh, I forgot a step -- some clothes had to be STARCHED, too! Learning which items got the Faultless Starch was an early lesson: only Daddy's shirts, and some of our blouses, skirts or dresses. I made a few misteps before learning just what did NOT get starched!

Gosh, I've just reviewed what I've written and you'd think this post should be about why I don't like to wash clothes, but I love to do laundry (thank goodness it's easier these days), but don't like to iron.

I think I'll save the ironing story for Part Two! I'm worn out just remembering all this stuff.


rhymeswithplague said...

Hi, Pat -- Thanks for the comment you left on my blog on 18 April. On 19 April I responded on my own blog's comment section but apparently it never made it back to you. Here's what I said:

"pat, thanks for your kind words and for your best wishes toward Ellie.

What I really want to know is: what is "an arkansas stamper"? (It's not the arkansas part that has me scratching my head.) Do you save postage stamps? S&H green stamps? Dance the square dance Ozark-style (as in "stomp")? Walk around in a huff half the time stamping your foot? Is Stamper your maiden name? Your married name? I'm in the dark; please enlighten me before I implode!

April 19, 2008 5:59 PM"

Today (26 April) I discovered your blog for real when I managed to click on the full name of it in your comment's profile. And in so doing, I discovered what a stamper is! You do beautiful work, you write beautiful poetry, and your blogging is impressive! I think we "older" folks must have had better English teachers than the young kids nowadays; you express yourself in a clear and entertaining way!

(Bob B., Georgia)

Countrygirl said...

I remember one my Gramma had, your post brings back sweet memories of her. In fact, today was her birthday. Thanks for reminding me....

Paula Yaussi said...

Hi Pat - found you on Countrygirl's blog! - I've never washed from a wash tub but I do like to iron - growing up pretty poor - my mama could take a second hand shirt, put some starch on it and iron it till it looked new! She showed us girls how to iron and now I iron almost everything! So I get real jazzed when I take a garage sale find and put my iron to it! Feels like I've been shopping!

Paula in Udall, Kansas

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Bob. B. - thank you so much for your kind words. I'm glad you came back to find out what a "stamper" is. I can see from your comments that the word can conjure up all sorts of possibilities. Thanks for making me laugh.

Ranch wife said...

Hi, Pat my Mammaw always washed her clothes by hand. She never had a machine, not a new fangled one anyway. I love to hang my clothes on the line. They smell so good when you bring them in. I never had a dryer until my first daughter was born. I have to say that in the winter time I am pretty proud that I can just throw the clothes in the dryer and go.
Thanks for the post.
Ranch Wife

Karin said...

Hi Pat! Oh what fun I'm having reading your posts! I must say that I'm in the 'don't enjoy ironing' camp with you. Your description of washing clothes via a wringer washer made me very tired! Think I'll go hug my modern day contraption and not gripe about the piles of laundry!