Wash Day

Discover Something New Every Day: The Challenge

My Aunt Mary Margaret would have been proud of me this morning. I got up at 5:30 a.m. and started the laundry. By 6:30 I had pressed three shirts and mended the hems in two pairs of pants. As much as I hate doing laundry, especially anything that has to do with ironing, I think I know why my aunt always did her laundry before daylight. No one is up yet, the rhythm of the washing machine is good company, the house takes on the smell of clean, and there is something mildly satisfying about folding a stack of towels or steaming down the creases in a crinkled blouse.

I always claimed that there was some kind of ironing gene in my family. My aunt and mother ironed everything that wasn’t pinned down when I was a kid. They even made ironing dates. They collected their clean, damp laundry in zippered plastic laundry bags, packed up their irons and ironing boards, and hauled everything to each other’s houses. All morning they ironed while watching TV and drinking Coca-Colas. (Clean Coke bottles were used for sprinkling/re-wetting laundry for ironing.) After he retired, my father took on the role of family ironer. My sister and cousins iron much more frequently than I do. I always say the ironing gene skipped me, and generally, I try to avoid dragging out the iron and ironing board. But this morning it felt right.


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