Pressed for time? Try polyester


When polyester came swooping in like a knight on a white horse in the late ’60s, I was so excited with the prospect of never having to stand over a hot ironing board again, I threw away my sprinkling bottle.

Talk about women in shackles. That sprinkling bottle and all it represented was a 500-pound ring around the collar of women.

The sprinkling bottle was a simple two-part devise that cost less than a buck back then, probably $22.99 today.

Before ironing, the clothes were sprinkled, loosely rolled up and packed in a plastic-lined basket where they mellowed for no less then 23.4 hours, which allowed them to become evenly damp.

If they mellowed 23.5 hours or longer, they mildewed and smelled like your first boyfriend in second grade. Once the clothes were of the right dampness, they had to be ironed within 15 minutes or put in the freezer. Our family lived out of the freezer.

“Mom, where is my blouse?”

“In the freezer, right next to your dad’s underwear.”

Having spent the majority of my adult life ironing puffed sleeves worn by our three little girls, I was giddy with thoughts of the time I would not be chained to an iron and sprinkling bottle.

I could read, take long walks, discover new hobbies, take a college history class, volunteer, the options were endless.

Of course, none of that happened. Life tends to fill any little opening that we might make for ourselves.

Nevertheless, the sprinkling bottle was thrown out, but the iron was stored in the far recesses of the basement. Interesting that I never disposed of it.

Deep down, I knew, much like chartreuse, it would come around again.

And so it has. Today, I am surrounded by cotton with an iron in my hand and the cord permanently plugged in. Cotton has changed partly due to the dryer and so has the iron.

My fancy iron now has its own sprinkler, thus no need for the plastic lined basket, but this task still takes a bite out of my day.

But life is a never-ending Merry Go Round. I just read an article saying polyester is coming back. Wow! Just think of all the time I will have.

Reading, long walks, naps. Lots of naps.


Joyce Ore

Joyce Ore writes delightful stories about life with a dose of humor and sprinkle of nostalgia. Her column appears Saturday in the Tribune.

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