The ironing board had a thick pad and cover. The iron itself rested on a metal plate on the ironing board and the iron cord was looped up a rod that was clamped to the side of the ironing board. This kept the cord up and out of the way while someone was ironing. To the right of the ironing board was a plastic folding bin that held the items to be ironed. All of these items had been sprinkled with water and rolled up to stay moist. Next to the iron was a glass bottle filled with water. There was a sprinkler top on the bottle so that you could sprinkle a little water on the item you were ironing and this helped get out the wrinkles. Last but not least there was a can of starch to use on shirts.
Okay, I know, right now you are thinking - hey I just take the shirts out of the dryer and hang them up and we are good to go. Well, not in the 1960's. I think my mom ironed anything that wasn't moving. We ironed handkerchiefs, boxer shorts, white undershirts, tea towels, sheets, pillowcases, shirts, pants, dresses, and more. It was a way of life until permanent press fabric was made.
Isn't it something how much a smell can take you back in time? Some smells such as spray starch do that for me. I love the smell of it as it reminds me of those days when my mother was teaching me to iron. Perhaps that is why one of my favorite candle scents is "Fresh Linen." I have always loved all things domestic so it should not be a surprise to anyone that I had a toy ironing board and iron to play with along with an entire play kitchen. Let's not forget the ever popular Easy Bake Oven. Okay, now I'm getting off track.
Being home all day means I have the time to do things the way I was trained by my mother. On Monday I do the clothing laundry and on Tuesday I launder bedding, towels and any throw rugs. So today I decided that I was going to take some of my son's 100% cotton shirts that he wears to work and I was going to iron them all at once. Usually I grab one and iron it quickly before he needs it. Here is the result of my work:
Four crisply pressed work shirts all ready to be worn.
I will admit to you that while I was ironing I watched a movie from Netflix on my little kitchen t.v. (During my mom's day she watched the ever popular General Hospital and Jeopardy when she was ironing.) After I was done with these four shirts I started looking around and I saw the basket of just dried sheets and pillowcases. My mom always ironed the sheets as they did soften even more when they were ironed. But I think the real reason she ironed them was the way they looked all nice and neatly pressed and folded in her linen closet.
I ironed the sheets and I went one step further by lightly spraying them with a little linen scented fabric spray. Here are the sheets and pillowcases nicely folded and ready to be put away.
Later in the day I decided to put them on our bed immediately. As I unfolded the sheets and I lifted them in the air to fluff them and let them fall on the bed I remembered how much easier it is to make a bed with sheets that have been neatly pressed and folded. They just seem to fall into place.
No, it is not necessary to iron the sheets. The reason I will continue to do it is because I enjoy ironing and best of all I enjoy the feel of ironed sheets on my bed. It is a little bit of work for a big luxury. I have no children at home during the day and if I did I doubt I would take the time to do an afternoon of ironing. It is a little dangerous to try to iron when there are little ones running around the ironing board. I know that my mom would agree with me that she is thankful for permanent press fabrics and that it is not necessary to spend an afternoon or day each week doing the ironing. She would also agree with me that somehow a shirt that has been pressed with a little starch always looks sharp and that yes, those sheets are nice when they are ironed.
Being a full time homemaker at the age of 50, without any children home during the day, means that I can take the time to do some extra special things for my family that I did not have the time to do when I was employed outside of the home.
I would challenge you to find something special to do for your family this week. It may not be ironing but it could be taking the time to bake a homemade special treat that they enjoy.