Ancient Chinese Secret #socs

I can actually remember the days before permanent-press clothing, and how happy Mom was when she didn’t have to iron anymore. She was a working Mom and didn’t have time to iron stuff. Dad’s shirts still needed to be ironed, so he would take to the Chinese hand laundry, run by Sam Woo. (Some of us wrote a little poem that we would yell out loud whenever we’d pass his laundry: "SAM WOO MADE A POO AND YOU CAN SMELL IT, TOO!" We didn’t feel bad about it until much later, by which time Sam had gone to that Hand Laundry In The Sky, where the water was always soft, even without Calgon.)

A lot of that changed after Mom remarried. My stepfather’s shirts were all permanent press, but Mom would iron them, anyway, along with a blouse for herself, the night before they were to be worn. We had gotten rid of the ironing board when we left Glenwood Avenue for the suburbs, so she would take a bath towel, fold it in half, and put it on the kitchen counter, and iron there.

She seemed to be proud of ironing. When I’d go to Chicago I’d stay with them, and she’d offer to iron my shirts. I’d tell her that it was OK, that they were permanent press, but she’d iron them anyway. Everybody has their language of love. Mom’s was freshly-ironed clothes.

Linda brings us Stream of Consciousness Saturday every week. Now a word about Calgon water softener. Helps get clothes up to 30% cleaner!

That commercial is from the ’70’s…I figured it’d explain the references above…

25 thoughts on “Ancient Chinese Secret #socs

  1. That’s a fun take on the prompt, John. Your mom was clever to use the towel and counter method. My grandmother loved to iron – even the sheets. My mom even went so far as to iron her hair so it was straight. Ironing can be rewarding and time-consuming. I do find it a good way to see the fruits of one’s labor. I remember that commercial! I use vinegar instead and it works better.


  2. I do recall a certain satisfaction from getting the wrinkles out with an iron, but not enough to keep doing it. Putting things in the dryer or hanging a dress in the bathroom during a shower sometimes gets wrinkles out. But as someone else mentioned, we can learn to embrace the wrinkles.


  3. I hate ironing and will only do it when absolutely necessary. German love to iron everything. My mom used to iron my brother’s jeans until he told her to stop as it was embarrassing. She soon found a way to stop ironing but my Aunt in Graz (Austria) ironed everything even the underwear. I remember that commercial so well that I could say the words ahead of time.


  4. It was my job from about 14 onwards to iron the family’s clothes, but to my mum’s exacting standards – which included pillowcases and tea-towels. When I left home I slowly whittled down the amount I did until now I have to get the iron out maybe 3 times a year šŸ™‚

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  5. John, I wish permanent press worked like they say. Here in the UK the non iron shirts my hubby has, still need a little press, despite saying the opposite on the label!


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