The Mangler

Get ready for some really ridiculous posts. This weekend my mom and I are on a road trip. I told her we would be like Thelma and Louise. I thought it was funny until we were stuck in our 4th traffic jam on I-95 in as many hours and she told me she was going to take out a gun and shoot herself in the head. “Mom? Did you actually take me seriously and bring a gun on this trip?” I figured this one was going to be kind of hard to explain. Luckily she was only kidding.

We decided to take this trip to suburban Boston to visit my aunt (her sister) and my cousin who is like my sister. This is a very special trip as the 2 sisters have not seen each other in 5 years!

Dinner was a riot as we reminisced about our past and brought up names and stories of people long gone. Ok, who remembers Nana and Poppa’s phone number? Bang! We all recited it as if we had just called them. As my friend Joyce would say, “Just don’t ask us what we had for breakfast or what our kids’ names are.”

The most bizarre memory of the night was that of ‘The Mangler’. (my brother is going to love this as I believe it was housed in his bedroom for many of his formative years). Now wait till you hear what this thing is. It was a machine used to iron. It had knee pedals and you fed the clothing through the hot metal roller to press them. Yeh, I know, sounds like the perfect item to keep in a toddler’s room, right? And the name Mangler? Well, if you fed you fingers into that sucker instead of the clothing…

Hello Mrs. Z, this is social services! Yes, we were wondering why you thought it was ok to have this piece of equipment in the room of your young child.

Never! Remember this was the late 50s/early 60s. The era when you not only did not wear seatbelts but you let the kids hang out in the back of the station wagon on long car rides – without seats, let alone belts! When pregnant women smoked and drank coffee and lines like, “go play in traffic” were uttered when kids complained they were bored.

I find it rather funny that the helicopter generation was raised by the what the hell generation.

All kidding aside, my childhood memories are great ones. We always felt loved and secure.  There was always family around and we had a lot of laughs. Right and wrong were not so hard to distinguish. None of parents wanted to be cool; or be our friends. They were our parents, and if we screwed up, we paid for it.

And no, not with the Mangler!



Filed under family, humor, moms

6 responses to “The Mangler

  1. The Mangier should be on Mad Men!!

  2. Great post! My sister had a restaurant on the cape for 20+ years. My mom retired there and spent her last years baking and ironing for the restaurant. And yes, she ironed all the linens on a mangler, which lived on the porch of the building. I have vivid memories of the squeak of the roller and the smell of the machine/starch/fabric and sitting beside my dear mother chatting about whatever as she ironed the tablecloths and napkins. What I wouldn’t give to see, hear, smell and be in that scenario again.

  3. Paula

    Btw – that’s my post above (different login).

  4. Judy

    Do I dare admit it? We have one of these Mangle Irons sitting in our guest room! And my husband recently pressed some linens and his shirts with it! My family had one when I was growing up so when I spotted this one nearly 15 years ago, I bought it to press lots and lots of tableclothes needed for a wedding reception. So funny to see the picture–yes we have lots of memories too with it.

  5. Karen Leeds

    So much fun to see this. I haven’t seen one like this since around 1960. My mother had a mangle; she could iron anything on it, including tiny doll clothes. I couldn’t understand how she could do that. Mostly it was used to iron sheets and tablecloths, though, as I remember. I’ll bet she ironed my father’s shirts and slacks on the mangle too. With seven beds to change every week and all those sheets to iron, plus all that laundry that needed to be ironed, it was a Godsend for her. She used it until permanent press was invented.

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