It all started when I decided to clean out the linen closet…
and found this old bottle of linen water. It made me remember the days when my babies were little, when I used to iron…every Tuesday. I can just see the long row of shirts and dresses lined up in the kitchen smelling of lavender and starch.
Yes, I know. People don’t actually do that anymore.
It’s a shame too, really.
There’s something comforting about taking a crumpled, wrinkly thing and making it smooth and crisp and warm and lovely, even when–perhaps especially when–you don’t really have to.
My mama knew that.
Years ago, she used to pay us five cents for every pillow case that we kids pressed and folded and stacked in the hall cupboard. Handkerchiefs were a penny. Of course, Laurie got the big money ironing daddy’s dress shirts—at twenty-five cents a piece. But I was the pillowcase girl.
We didn’t have Linen Water or anything fancy back then. Just a sprinkle jug and a big safety pin to keep the cord out of the way, and a note pad and pencil to add up all the nickles.
I earned a Twist & Turn Barbie just like that. She cost $3.69 and it took from May clear till fireworks before I had enough money to bring her home.
From that day on, I’ve loved the smell of ironing.
Mama told us a story once about a fancy lady she knew, when she was little, that loved ironing so much that she even ironed her sheets–just because she wanted to.
Sheets! Can you imagine?
That’s just silly.
But I discovered this very day, that even though you can, of course, get by without ironing anything–for a long, long time–there is a soothing rhythm to the motion and the warmth and the order…
that, for me, was worth finding again.
It smells curiously like a brand new Barbie…
and crisp, lavender sheets.