Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Strength in Numbers

Periodic Table Iron

Iron from the Periodic Table credit

How many, I wonder, will include somewhere in their daily post the line, “Today’s episode is brought to you by the number 26”? Well, add one more to the queue!

Iron has played a supporting role in my life, starting with the television ads for Geritol. Not sure why they had such a strong impact on me. Most likely because there was a bottle of the stuff in the medicine cabinet.  I don’t know if my mom needed it because she was iron deficient or just plain exhausted. She was the breadwinner, chief cook and bottle washer. And mender of socks, sewer of clothes, canner of preserves and duster of baseboards. In hindsight, it’s easy to understand why Jean corralled me into helping her. At the time, I believe the word I used was “enslaved”, but that was my ignorance showing.

Ironically (!) one of the first jobs she handed over to me was the ironing (!!).  Pillowcases and handkerchiefs were perfect entry level pieces for a housewife-in-training. I mentioned that Jean dusted baseboards.  She was that sort of housekeeper. EVERY Friday evening, the sofa was pulled away from the wall to gain access to what few particles of dust might linger behind. As for the laundry list, the dish towels and pillow cases and bed linens were all ironed. These were the days of wringer washers and 100% cotton: polyester hadn’t made it into the market yet. After the laundry had dried on the line, and the majority of the creases removed, the items to be ironed were sprinkled with water and rolled into little bundles and kept in the fridge until later.  Don’t ask me.  Those were the Good Housekeeping rules of the day.

Fast forward to 2014: I religiously dust behind the furniture every single time the movers have piled it on the truck. And Reiner does his own ironing. Up until this moment, I haven’t used the word “handkerchief” in a sentence. Not once. And I doubt I will have need for the word ever again.

PS: I had every intention of writing about the element Iron as related to mineral collecting and perhaps talk a bit about meteorites.  My muse clearly had other ideas.  Maybe next time.

Categories: Daily Post, Mom and Dad

Tags: , , ,

42 replies

  1. I really like this – enjoyable to read, interesting and a nice layout!


  2. Ironclad post…


  3. I loves this post!
    I, too, was handed down the miserable job of ironing handkerchiefs and pillowcases. First off, handkerchiefs are the most disgusting invention known to man, they grossed me out then, and now. My dad still carries one daily, luckily I’m no longer ironing them. In fact, the “iron” I own today is called a clothes dryer.


    • Hi there! Glad you enjoyed it! If I recall correctly, we didn’t even have Kleenex, or whatever brand of tissue paper in the house when we were kids. Each of us had a hanky during the cold and flu season, and… [gross out alert!] if we didn’t have pockets, which was often the case, stashed the boogery things in the cuffs of our sweater sleeves!

      Bless you, says I!


  4. I like your muse’s thinking; you probably would have lost me early on had you insisted on writing about actual iron. Pfft.

    Yet more evidence however that we are meant for each other: I could have written your last sentence word-for-word (subbing of course “Prince Charming” for “Reiner”). :>


    • After I published this, I thought to myself, “Really. How corny are you anyway? Talking writer talk like “muse” and stuff like that.” But if the foo shits, as they say.

      Seriously for a moment: It’s eerie, isn’t it, how similar we are. As if there is a finite set of “scripts” that the playwright publishes (you could call the playwright God, if you want). And each actress on each stage performs the role with the props and supporting cast available. Like variations on a theme.

      I’m glad you took the time to read the post. This kind of writing flows a whole lot easier than the science-y stuff. That’s cuz I KNOW this stuff from deep, deep down.


      • “That’s cuz I KNOW this stuff from deep, deep down.” Right?! I’ve been grocking about a Bloggers 4 Peace post for 2 days… trying to research, get some inspiration, make it make sense BEFORE I write it. How stupid is that? Just start writing dummy (me) and the words will flow because you know this sh1t from the dungeons of your soul. :>


  5. Have to admit I still use handkerchiefs occasionally. Easier to fit in the purse than roll of loo paper. Never iron them, though.


  6. That’s hysterical! I completely clicked on this expecting to get more informed about the mineral IRON (especially from YOU) because all I know about iron, I learned in Kindergarten from a red U-shaped magnet. Anyhow, re: IRON-ing, just this morning as we were driving away, I heard my 16 year old daughter gasp loudly, and I said, “What is it?!! Please don’t gasp like that unless you see a car coming straight at us (or a pole!) or you left the iron on.” And she goes, “what’s an iron?” Thanks again for the laughs, Maggie!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Three cheers for iron! I’m guessing it’s plentiful in lovely steaks. Yum 😉


  8. My husband, in desperation several months ago, suggested I teach him to iron. I got the hint and ironed his jeans or whatever it was – not right away mind you, but just before he needed it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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