irons and fire

I did something this weekend that I hadn’t done in maybe….45 years? I ironed a shirt.

Wash and Wear has been steadily improving since 1965 so I hadn’t really needed to iron but the wrinkles were there as was the iron and board and I thought, “I can do this!.”

Its funny how muscle memory comes back. Its been a long time, but I found myself knowing how to proceed along the shirt, managing to work the wrinkles out of the back, front, and sleeves without “ironing-in” more wrinkles.

I was remembering Mom teaching us to iron. We started on handkerchiefs, moved up to pillow cases and sheets, and once we quit “browning up” the items we were ironing (I stopped moving the iron once when a really compelling scene played by “Bozo the Clown” came on WGN) we graduated to ironing Dad’s shirts.

Like shoe shining, ironing paid a little bit, maybe a quarter or so, but back then, eight quarters meant a new Revell, AMT or Monogram model, and three more meant new paint colors!

I was also remembering, it was one of the few times we could get one on one time with Mom. When she was teaching us, we’d have her attention, until a scream, a crash or a thump would divert her to another part of the house. (who was that thump?)

I remember the ironing lessons, like the bowling lessons (push, swing, glide, release) and the friday night at the fights wrestling events, (didn’t Lori always beat us?) (unless we cheated and tickled) all took place in the “new addition” as we called it.

This strikes me as odd since it was the only addition to the house back in those growing up years. I remember the addition was built by Dad and a fellow named Ted who was a carpenter I think. John and I hammered nails into the plywood floor there and it had some sliding windows that we still call “the andersons” and each of us kids knows which windows they are.

Like a few projects, the addition didn’t finish up all at once, and I think there still is a switch that dangles on some wires over the dryer to turn the lights on there, and the dimmable light in the middle of the room, that we once pulled down low over the card table to work puzzles, now is too low to walk under without clanging my head.

The addition could be reached by either walking through the kitchen, utility room or by walking through the bathroom and dressing room. This whole-house loop became an endless loop for us to chase each other, our dog, and sometimes the rabbit around the first floor.

I’ll be back to see the addition again this summer, will be again amazed at how small it seems, remember the floor fans we’d all lay around on hot summer evenings, watching the first color tv! I think we all watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan there, the tv debut of the Jetsons, and after school with Paul Revere and the Raiders. (What were we thinking?)

All these memories came back to me as soon as the hot iron hit the cotton fabric yesterday. I didn’t have the tv on so I managed not to burn the shirt, and was pretty satisfied with how the final product seemed almost starched, perfectly smoothed and was the most comfortable thing I ever put on. (warmed clothes are pretty comfy)

Amazing the things that triggers memories of out past.

Be good to each other this week!

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