When I was three, my father built our house. It was small and simple – 2 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, bath. But, soon there were additions – a garage, laundry room, another bedroom for my brothers, and a second bathroom. The best space was the breezeway that connected the original house and the add-on. The breezeway looked out onto the side yard – a mock orange bush, lilac, huge maple tree, a row of bridal wreath alongside our neighbor’s house.
I learned to iron in the breezeway, pillowcases and my father’s cotton handkerchiefs first. I loved the damp cloth, the clean scent, as I warmed and smoothed with the iron. I carefully folded pillowcases into regular rectangles, stacking them on the windowsill that led to my parents’ bedroom. I loved everything about this task: guiding the hot iron, the smells, the transformation of wrinkles to smooth, crispness, the geometry of folding. And, my mother’s praise and appreciation! It was an important job, and I was doing it well. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me the joy of simple, ordinary tasks. I still love ironing today!