Saturday, February 28, 2015


This morning, as I was ironing pillowcases, it suddenly occurred to me that for all of my adult life I have been missing the one home appliance that symbolizes true womanhood—a mangle. A mangle is a large ironing appliance that has a heated roller contraption. It is especially useful for ironing large flat items like tablecloths and sheets and it occupied a considerable amount of space in our basement laundry room.

When I was growing up my mother operated the mangle like an artist. It was a thing of beauty to watch her. She ironed sheets and handkerchiefs, of course, but she also was able to iron my father’s cotton boxer shorts—surely a lost art. She taught me how to use the machine. I sat before it, pushing the various levers with my legs and feeding in the fabric with my hands and smelled that glorious aroma of a hot iron on freshly laundered linens.

So today, as I iron my pillowcases with a simple iron and ironing board, I feel a bit of nostalgia. I miss our phone with the party line. I miss the old powdered Spic n Span that would take the paint off your car. I miss Teen Twists at the Mighty Mo. And I miss my mother’s mangle.

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