Slice of Life Story Challenge March 21 -The Gift Of The Ironing Board

The Gift of the Ironing Board

Because today is the 21 day of March, I allowed myself to wander back in time- way back in time to the year I turned 21. 

It was a big year as I recall. It was the year I began teaching. A year of significant change for me personally. I returned home that year after being away at college for my teacher training. Moving home was a re-adjustment too.  My football team, Richmond Tigers won the Premiership by a record margin. Momentous events all.

But one other eventful thing occurred the year I turned 21 that has had implications right up until today. As part of my 21st birthday gifts, my parents in their collective wisdom, presented me with an ironing board. Yes, an ironing board. It left me quizzical. Head scratching bemusement was my response. The wisdom that comes with living had clearly not descended upon me at that time. 

All my life I had watched my mother ironing for the entire family, myself included. The iron remained an instrument of complete and utter mystery to my father throughout his entire life. If it hissed and spluttered and possessed the potential to burn you, it was not to be entertained, nor trusted, it seemed. 

My mother, was the opposite. She appeared to actually enjoy ironing. It was an opportunity for her to sing. The air in our house was frequently thick with the peculiar smell of starch, the hiss of steam and Mum’s enthusiastic singing.
As she sprinkled the clothes with a mixture of starch and water to make items extra stiff, the hissing of the iron provided an accompaniment to her enthusiastic singing.  

Mum was renowned for ironing everything. Underwear, towels, sheets, basically anything she could lay her hands on was pressed with deliberate intent.  As she worked the iron she sang joyfully like the birds of the morning.
'Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy
A kid’ll eat ivy too, wouldn't you?'

The legacy of that unusual gift is that to this day I am responsible for my own ironing. I can't complain about errant creases in any way. Maybe that was part of the long term plan.  A plan to make me responsible for ironing out my own problems, so to speak.

Well, it seems to have worked. I actually don’t mind ironing and like my mother I like to sing as I do it. I tell you these things not to appear virtuous, but rather to demonstrate how a gift can have long term implications. To paraphrase the Allman Brothers-‘ Lord, I was born an ironin’ man…’


  1. Your post allowed my to reminisce. I still actually have my first iron board. It leans a little bit. Actually it leans a lot. I received it as a wedding shower gift so it's quite old. Unlike you, I do not enjoy ironing. I try my best to avoid it at all costs!

    1. It is amazing how we hold onto such items Amy. I wouldn't go so far as to say I like ironing, I see it as necessary and approach it without feelings of resentment. I just switch off and let it happen.

  2. We make connections all the time. I quite like the connection with your gift (ironing board) with it's assumed duty of ironing your problems out! Very symbolic.

    1. Thanks Juliette. The symbolism was quite deliberate. My parents maybe saw their gesture as a contribution towards achieving maturity and responsibility for self.

  3. Your post reminded me of my grandmother who would sprinkle the clothes then store them in the refrigerator! She and my mother also ironed everything, including underwear. Well before the days of permanent press. Thanks for sharing.


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