Sunday, July 31, 2011

* Nostalgic Sundays *

It's time for another Nostalgic Sunday

I wasn't sure what I would write about today because I had quite a few ideas popping in and out of my head...which is an ongoing occurrence.
(courtesy: google)
But I finally decided to write about ironing. Yes....ironing.
I don't know if spray starch was available when I was a little girl, because if it was, we didn't use it.
I remember watching my mom and older sister take the dried clothes from a clothes basket, lay them flat out on the kitchen table, one at a time, and sprinkle them with water. They ususally used a plastic bottle that I assume was made just for that little task. Then after each item was dampened, it was rolled up like a jelly roll and placed to the side. This continued until every piece of clothing that required ironing was drizzled. All were placed inside a small plastic bag and put in the refrigerator for a certain amount of time, and then voile', they were ready to be ironed. 

*For any young readers, back in the Old Days, clothes were primarily made from cotton and needed to be ironed. Polyester and nylon either hadn't been discovered, manufactured, or used for clothing yet.*
Addendum: Thank you, Marydon for the info about nylon! I appreciate it!

(courtesy: google.)
(I'm assuming it's okay to use this, since Life Magazine is no longer around.)
I hadn't thought of that routine for eons until just this morning. (It's a long story why ironing popped into my head, so I won't bore you with that! Aren't you glad?!) Then, another long ago memory materialized....Soon after my parents split up, money was very scarce, and for a while my mother ironed other families' clothes. I think someone would drop them off at our little apartment and mother was paid 'per piece'. I know it certainly wasn't much. Probably something like 25 cents maybe? I think the term for that was "taking in ironing", and considered a lowly job. Does anyone else remember this?

One last thing. I LOVE to iron, but only a couple of things at a time. Then I'm tired and ready to quit! Unless I'm watching something really good on TV like the woman in the photo, then I'm okay. (Also, I much rather iron MY clothes, than The Ronald's because his are at least twice the size of mine!)

Also welcome to my newest follower: Randi! I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you!
My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint. -- Erma Bombeck
I'm eighteen years behind in my ironing. -- Phyllis Diller


  1. Oh, yes, nylon was on the market in the 1940s, Becky. Mother made my First Communion dress out of it. No, we sure didn't have spray starch. We dipped those clothes in that big bucket of starch, hung them out to dry & then brought them in to 'sprinkle' & THEN to iron.

    Mother ironed to bring in money, also. We girls often got the job of ironing our own family clothes ... standing at that board on those old hot days with that iron radiating heat! Ugh. When we got a bit older we even helped her iron others clothes.

    Boy, would Mother have a fit if we didn't get all the wrinkles out. I HATE IRONING with an Erma Bombeck passion.

    Have a great week.
    TTFN ~

  2. My mom had one of those big steam irons with a roller that you fed the clothes into. I used to love watching her do my dad's shirts.

    And yes, I remember the bottle with water in it that was sprinkled all over the clothes.

    Those were the days!


  3. Hi Becky. I love those two quotes at the end! I'm fairly ancient, but I certainly don't remember my mum doing what you described with the ironing!! I quite enjoy ironing I must admit, especially if I can watch the TV or a DVD whilst I'm doing it. Ironing and watching Mama Mia is quite good!!!

  4. Oh, Beck, I remember my Mom ironing. I do, too, but only very occasionally. It's like a real production. Have to REALLY want something ironed in order to get out the board, iron, etc. That was a good topic for Nostalgic Sunday. Susan

  5. Ironing reminds me of my maternal grandmother. She did her ironing once a week...Tuesdays. She did wash on Monday, so the next day, she ironed everything that needed ironed. She definitely had a little sprinkler bottle alongside her when she ironed, but I don't remember anything being put in the frig.

    What I most remember is that she ironed while watching The Edge of Night, The Secret Storm, and The Guiding Light.

    Actually, I pretty much enjoy ironing. I don't do alot of it anymore, as my husband's job has changed, and he mostly wears golf-type shirts instead of men's button-down dress shirts. But I do have to iron tablecloths and napkins...and I rather enjoy doing it.

    Have a wonderful day,

  6. It seems like I had an iron many years ago. I remember, because my husband used it to iron a shirt for a funeral. I don't know what ever happened to that old thing. You can see how much my ironing skills are in demand.

  7. When I moved to rural England in 2003, I was amazed to see ironing boards and irons in all the shops. I hadn't touched an iron in decades--didn't even know they still made them. I guess it's so damp there, they have to iron things even if there's polyester in there.

    But I remember when I was a kid, I'd beg to do the ironing for my weekly chore--I could watch TV! (Hard to watch when you've got bathroom-cleaning or grass-mowing duty.)

  8. I ironed a little as a young girl (my favorite--handkerchiefs and pillowcases--ha!) but now, if it needs to be ironed, I won't buy it.

  9. I have all your own memories, Becky. In fact several years ago I wrote an article on ironing for Collectibles magazine! My mom's sprinkler bottle set in the window of our kitchen for years, waiting to sprinkle down each week. This summer, starch wouldn't have a chance of standing up in this heat!!!!!

  10. Sue, that's a Mandle Iron.

    My momma hung clothes out on a clothesline and as we girls grew older we did too. Then she did the sprinkle, roll and refrigerate system too. Except that she had a hired woman come in every now and then to help her catch up on the ironing. I remember it like it was yesterday....The soap opera's were on the black and white tube TV and mom was on the Mandle iron, ironing our bed sheets, and the help would iron clothes on a wooden ironing board which I have today and still use.~Ames

  11. Becky, You sure took me back. I remember liquid starch, and can still smell the fragrance of aersol can starch. Glad those days are about over.

  12. ACK! I hate ironing, I would rather clean toilets. I purposely buy things that are supposed to look wrinkly just to avoid it. I'm happy to see it is something I can start being nostalgic about!

  13. I remember my mom spending hours ironing too! I am so glad that we don't have to do it to that extent. I am like you that I will do a piece or two at a time.
    I also like the picture that you took while flying! Love those clouds!

  14. I love the quotes! Erma Bombeck describes my opinion about ironing to a tee. :)

  15. I sold my iron and ironing board at a garage sale. Must Be Ironed Clothing is scarce at our house and it goes to the cleaners.

  16. As a teen, one of my jobs was ironing. I would iron down in the "game room" - the coolest room of the house (the basement) since we had no A/C. I'd watch TV and iron clothes.

    Does anyone remember the awful white gym uniforms we had to wear? I ironed mine, and it required lots of spray starch (or spray sizing) to get the wrinkles out.

    I will iron a shirt or other clothing if it's for a special occasion, and I probably would iron curtains or draperies if necessary - but it happens rarely nowadays. Thank you, multi-cycle dryer!

    And while ironing, I often think of my grandma, in the kitchen, ironing and quietly whistling - with her red plastic sprinkle bottle beside her.

  17. I used to iron all the time. Then one night when I was 8 mos pregnant my hubby made the mistake of glancing over at me from the sofa and saying, "You look exhausted honey. Why don't you rest for five minutes before you finish the ironing?" I put the iron and the ironing board away and never ironed again. That was 17 years ago. LOL My grandmother used to iron everything...socks, underwear, sheets!

  18. Becky..I so have ironing memories, much like yours. I remember the sprinkler bottle, my Mom used a empty soda bottle with a topper she bought at the 5 and 10 store. It was metal with holes and cork around the end to fit into a bottle. Like you said, clothes were laid out flat and sprinkled and rolled up, put in a plastic bag and refrigerated. No such thing as spray starch. Mom had two methods for starching. Starch came in a powder form and was mixed with water. After washing clothes they were dipped in the liquid starch, hung to dry and then sprinkled with water and ironed. Can you believe all the processes one had to go through just for clean starched clothing? So glad this chore is a memory and not of present times. Thanks for the trip down memory lane...No steam irons back then either. Had to be very careful not to scorch items when ironing..I so enjoy your writings...take care and know I'm thinking of you!!!
    Turtle Lady


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