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The former Daily Statesman is now The Dexter Statesman and currently does not have an operating website.

A Little Help from my Friends

Posted Saturday, August 23, 2008, at 12:22 PM

Minnie's new blog is such an inspiration to me this morning that I'm going to bite the bullet and post a new blog, myself! Yes, yes, it is reassuring to find Minnie's words of wisdom and frustration waiting for me, as I stumble downstairs at 4 a.m., awake again and unable to get back to sleep, worrying over the truly idiotic things that plague our aging minds in the wee hours of the morning...

This morning it's the AT&T wireless bill that they sent me online...And is there anything I can do about it at 4 a.m.? Of course not, but there it is, staring me in the face when I awake from another restless dream...back hurts, head hurts, nose is stopped up...little red numbers on the clock can't be right...

I fix a pot of coffee and come into the living room to power up all my mechanical friends - Hello, Computer, Television, Floor Fan... The AT&T lady calls her computer "Fred." Yes, says I, I knew computers were male. Anything that darned contrary has to be of the masculine gender.

I feed the cats (they're real, so they have to be fed, or they'll eat me as I doze on the couch...) I pop on the blogs to wake up. Ahhhhhhhhh......dear Minnie in the Morning! Thank you, thank you! Minnie and a cuppa coffee!

Today I'm trying to get ready for my darling daughter's "old" college roommate's shower and wedding reception this week in St. Louis. The room mate is also a former student of mine, so I've agreed to tag along, despite the fact that the wedding was in Jamaica a month or so ago. This is all very confusing to me, but I will try to adapt...

I had planned to wear black. Black hides a variety of body and psychological issues. However, Darling Daughter tells me that I might want to choose a "brighter" color, since the theme of the shower is, after all, Jamaican...

I look through my closet to see if I have something that looks "Jamaican." Since I never throw anything away, I have lovely outfits that were perfectly in style from 1975 through 1997, when I suddenly lost whatever meager interest I had ever had in clothes.

Finally, I find a bright, floral blouse that I had bought at some unknown date in the past. It's been worn one time, I think. Had to be ironed. Need I say more?

After a brief nap on the couch, during which I dream that Obama announced Biden as his running mate, I get up and stagger into the laundry room, dragging out my ancient ironing board with the ragged cover, searching through drawers for the iron, an ancient relic which still works, so I find no need to replace it.

I grab for the spray starch and come up with the Rid-a-Bug Flying Insect killer. Oops! Caught myself just in time!

As I iron, I think of those days when I was a kid, and Mom taught me to press the cotton shirts. I see her hand with the tiny gold wedding ring. Those were good days. I press the hot metal on the collar, and then the yoke, and then the sleeves. I pay especial attention to the facing, so it'll stay in place, and I think of how we used to sprinkle the clothes, roll them up, and put them in a plastic bag to get soft. Then, we stood for hours and hours, ironing clothes and hanging them from the door facings - so the room was filled with sweet-smelling shirts and dresses. The whites had a faint, clean smell of bleach. I don't recall fabric softener being around then. No spray starch back then, either; we had to dip the clothes in a big tub of starch and wring them out. Boy, were they stiff when they dried on the line!

I don't iron much anymore, but I guess it's like riding a bike (which I haven't done since '75)- You never forget.

Now the rest of my Saturday awaits me. I've settled my business with AT&T and didn't even yell at the second person who helped me... I have three articles of freshly-ironed clothing to wear.. Life is good!

From the green, newly-washed hills of Tillman, this is your Roving Reporter, Madeline, hanging on for another day...with a little help from my friends!

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

OH, Madeline.....

What dear memories you bring back to a body and mind that refuse to give in to this thing they call "age."

Starch...now there's a memory. And "bluing," or is is "blueing,"... at any rate, any items that met their acquaintance on "laundry day" (yes, there used to be such a designated day)...came out whiter than white (hence, the "blue") and stiff as a board. I recall my dear father's shirts returned from the cleaners, stiff collar and all, ready for the navy tie with the little red and white specks for Sunday Mass.

I, too, recall the moistening of the laundry, even the sheets and boxers...sprinkled with water from a basin by the side of the ironing board, then as you recall, rolled and placed side-by-side with the rest of the laundry (a family of 11 produced an ample amount). My mother, as I recall, never seemed to mind. She'd shake out the rolled dampened item, spread it over the folding ironing board, which was only brought out on Saturday night, and iron away while watching Gunsmoke. Between trying to figure out the relationship between Marshall Dillon and Kitty and how Chester acquired that limp, she managed to press four laundry baskets full of dampened pre-rolled items, so that when school resumed Monday morning, we'd all be starched and ready for the new week!

Thanks, Madeline, for resurrecting some long forgotten memories.


-- Posted by bringwine on Sat, Aug 23, 2008, at 2:33 PM

Chester got that 'limp' from trying on one of Minnie's 'shanks', I believe it was.....and bluing is the correct spelling, I always wondered what happened to the 'e'!!!!!

And MD, I hope AT&T gave you a big refund on your bill.....lol......funny how its hard to get back to sleep at 4 AM. Hope your Jamaican trip goes well and the colorful blouse blends right in.


-- Posted by changedname on Sat, Aug 23, 2008, at 8:15 PM

At least we don't have to read about squeezing fat into some type of contraption.

-- Posted by shannonhoon on Sat, Aug 23, 2008, at 9:07 PM

That should be 'spanks', dont know where the 'shanks' came from!!!

-- Posted by changedname on Sun, Aug 24, 2008, at 6:30 AM

Haha! Thanks for the clarification, dexterite. I thought I'd missed something when I read "shanks."

I don't remember how old I was when I asked my mother if I could start ironing, but she started me out on my dad's handkerchiefs. From there, I graduated up to shirts, but it was a while before I could tackle the dresses, if I remember right.

Good memories!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Aug 24, 2008, at 8:33 AM

My name is Bobby and I hate to iron! Good story MD!

-- Posted by greer958 on Mon, Aug 25, 2008, at 11:23 AM

GL, how funny! I, too, started out ironing my father's handkerchiefs and moved up from there. My mother also sprinkled the ironing, rolled it up and put it in a plastic bag and then started ironing the live-long day. She was pretty fast. I was not. Never really got the hang of it. Thank goodness.

Now I buy things that don't have to be ironed. My absolute favorite fabric is something called "crinkle cotton." It's actually supposed to be wrinkled. Right down my alley.

"Like riding a bike..." My gosh, have you actually tried to do it lately? I did. I think I forgot how. It wasn't pretty --- or comfortable.

-- Posted by Ducky on Mon, Aug 25, 2008, at 11:31 AM

My mom always used a glass Pepsi bottle with a cork sprinkler attachment to sprinkle with. My girls never iron, and I just don't understand it. I love to see the wadded-up pile turn into neatly hung. Sort of a chaos-to-order thing. But the girls think I'm slightly OCD. By the way, I've been up since 4:00 am today. When we're young, we look forward to sleeping late in old age, but it doesn't happen. One more of life's jokes!

-- Posted by gardengirl on Mon, Aug 25, 2008, at 3:05 PM

Oh, gardengirl, you sound like my clone!! Haha! We should exchange phone numbers, so we can call each other at 4 a.m. and chat!!!

AND we could get together and have IRONING PARTIES!! HAHAHA!!

Oh, well....forget the chatting at 4 a.m....I'm practically brain dead at that hour..

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Aug 25, 2008, at 7:41 PM

Oh, Bobby --- cute guys like you don't need to iron!! Hehe!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Aug 25, 2008, at 7:46 PM

He IS cute, isn't he? Hey, Bobby, maybe you can get someone to volunteer to do your ironing. It won't be me, of course, but maybe when goat lady and gardengirl have one of their ironing parties....

-- Posted by Ducky on Wed, Aug 27, 2008, at 10:42 AM

Cotton is my favorite material! We always used a Pepsi bottle w/cork to "sprinkle" our clothes, too. I've done some of my best thinking while smoothing out the wrinkles!

-- Posted by ct on Wed, Aug 27, 2008, at 10:55 AM

Yaaaawwwwwn. I thought Minnie and Maddie were the same gal?

-- Posted by shannonhoon on Wed, Aug 27, 2008, at 1:36 PM

Guess that's what you get for thinking. Not everything has to be interesting for you hoon.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Wed, Aug 27, 2008, at 9:26 PM

I do iron..

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Wed, Aug 27, 2008, at 10:24 PM

Hahaha! Dolphin, if we make the blog boring enough for hoooooniebaby, maybe he'll decide not to check it, and we can talk about what WE want to! Here goes:

Ironing is so much fun....I like to iron cotton, and silk...and organza...and corduroy...and muslin...and tea towels...and handkerchiefs...and terrycloth....and leather...and swede....and swifter dust cloths...and carpets...and upholstery...and car seats...and drapes...and stuffed toys....and lampshades...and lawnmower seats....and cheese sandwiches...(How am I doing??)

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Aug 30, 2008, at 5:33 PM

...and linen...and Hostess Twinkies...and sheets...and pillowcases...

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Aug 31, 2008, at 8:37 AM

don't forget those bothersome fingers that somehow always get in the way GL

-- Posted by SKDellinger on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 10:11 PM

...fingers...and toes...and an occasional rose..

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Sep 5, 2008, at 7:06 AM

The only thing I've ever ironed is my husband's Naval uniforms. The creases had to be SO precise!..even in his work uniforms. I'm honestly glad I don't have to do that anymore. I'm definetely a child of Generation X...like my dad said a few weeks ago...you can tell kids from that generation because you can always find a pile of laundry stacked up somewhere!

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Fri, Sep 5, 2008, at 7:57 PM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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