Advertising couldn't convince mom we needed a toy ironing board and iron that wouldn't work. We couldn't afford to waste money on an Easy Bake Oven. We used her real tools of the trade. I'm thankful for this.
Mom had a huge pile of unending ironing. It was before permanent press and wrinkles don't go away when clothes are hung on a line. When she got the courage to face that mound, I loved watching her sprinkle each piece by flicking water with her hand, then rolling them up to keep the moisture in until she was ready to iron it. If the budget allowed her the luxury, a can of spray starch was sparingly used.
The best part was when the last piece was hung up in the door frame and she put the ironing board down to its lowest notch just right for my height. Dad's white hankies were mine to finish. If there was spray starch left for me to crisp them it was heaven. It was serious work. Important work. Loving work. It seemed necessary and I was chosen and entrusted with it. I found great pleasure in it.
I don't remember any catastrophes. I do remember hours of playing house with the real stuff of life.
When I want to take it down a notch and let my mind have a complete rest, I plug in the iron and pull out the ironing board. It feels like recess, not a chore. I find a pile of clean vintage napkins, aprons, or hankies, a hot iron, and a $1.89 bottle of spray starch. The spray starch still feels like an extravagance....
The wrinkles in my head are smoothed with each finished piece. My brain becomes more orderly as the stack of folded pieces gets higher. It's like my mind becomes a kaleidoscope of new visions and colorful thoughts. When I do this peaceful activity, it feels like I have the freedom, authority, and permission to rename things ~ like I could be chosen next time to give paint and crayons their colorful names.