My mom was the oldest of five girls and, by default, was a mother’s helper for her mother. Wrinkle free fabrics hadn’t been invented yet and LG and Samsung weren’t around with the steam dryer. Everything had to be ironed, so according to Mom, she spent enough time beside an ironing board to last two lifetimes.

She evidently vowed one day in the middle of an ironing session, if she could afford it when she was a mom, she would hire someone to do the ironing at her house. And she did. Irene was a mother’s helper for Mom.

Irene was at our house every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday the whole time I was growing up. She did a whole lot more than iron. For the longest time I thought she was a relative, so she sat with the family when I got married. She had a comforting smile and an infectious laugh and her fried chicken made The Colonel jealous. Irene loved Jesus, hummed when she worked and watched her soap operas when she ironed on Fridays.

On Wednesdays right before she went home, Irene sprinkled down the clothes to be ironed Friday. She took a bottle that looked a lot like an oil and vinegar salad dressing bottle and dashed water on each piece. Everything was rolled up tightly and bundled in a sheet. The to be ironed package waited in the downstairs refrigerator until Friday afternoon.

I don’t know if it was the sprinkling method, the heat of the iron or Irene’s technique, but by four o’clock every Friday afternoon perfectly pressed clothes hung all around the family room. Mom would smile because she had nothing to do with it.

Not long ago David bought a Roomba. It was a new techie gadget for him, but for Jill it’s like a mother’s helper. It cleans the floor every day and Jill smiles because she has nothing to do with it. The new iRobot was given the honored name I-Rene.

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One response to “

  • Danae Livingston

    This makes me smile. Have you read “The Help” yet? I remember those days oh so well in the deep south. It seems I remember our sweet “help” ironing all the time too:) Sweet memories.

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