Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Thursday, June 5, 2014


I think the following repost (from Facebook) lets you all know how things were in my early years.

My mom and I used to do the laundry on Monday, wring it out in between the rollers, and then hang it outdoors to dry.  No matter the weather, except when the temperatures would freeze the unsqueezed water and the clothes wouldn't dry until spring. :)  Sound familiar? 

She would then hang the cloths in her immaculately clean basement (except for the ever present thousand leggers) until the clothing all dried from the heat of the coal furnace.  Oh, those were the days.

It was daddy's job to keep the coal furnace going so it wasn't too cold in the morning when we woke up, but it was mom's job to clean up after him and his droppings (of coal).  

So every Tuesday, she would dampen the clothing that had to be ironed and put it in a basket and then she would start my training in ironing.  The first thing I ever ironed -- down in the basement -- was my father's handkerchiefs.  I had to make sure they were wrinkle free and square.  If I ironed them incorrectly I would get more of a parallelogram -- and yes, Mark, I know that a square is a parallelogram, but most folks think of a different shape for the parallelogram. 

Then when I had gotten that down pat, we moved to mom's handkerchiefs -- a little more delicate and it used a different temperature on the iron.  No steam irons in those days.  Not yet.  They were coming and while they were okay, there was nothing like dampened clothing ironed without steam.

So, there you are.  Ironing 101.  Soon to follow was the Bendix automatic clothes washer.  I used to sit in front of the door with the window and watch the clothes spin round and round. 


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