Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Yes, Niagara spray starch.

Among the clearance rack shirts I have purchased lately is a white linen shirt, the kind with tabs and buttons to hold your rolled up sleeves in place. I decided I the initial wearing will be Friday when we go to Santa Fe after work for dinner and opera (Madama Butterfly). The noted cool factor of linen (temperature, not with-it-ness) appeals. Alas, it looked a bit rumpled off the rack. So tonight I tackled it with starch and ironed it into submission.

Yes, I know that linen wrinkles as soon as you put it on. That's OK. I just feel as though I am putting on the Ritz and that's all that matters.

I also touched up two other new shirts (spraying only with water) so they are ready to be worn to work.

How many of you remember when your mothers had starch, bluing, and Fels naphtha soap? And your fathers had Lava and Boraxo soaps?

--the BB


susan s. said...

We never had spray starch! My mother made it by boiling water and adding the starch to it. My stepfather had Stephens Brand shirts and pants that he wore when he showed mules and when he went to town. They were the in between clothes. Better than work(which were overalls) but not dressy. I guess they were Casual clothes. But mother would starch those puppies and iron them to a fare-the -well.

Oh, and she made her own Lye Soap, using saved up grease strained of bits of bacon and such, and Lye. She would add some cheap perfume for scent. One time she added real lemon flavoring. The next time she washed diapers and hung them out on the line to dry, the bees came and settled on them!

Paul said...

Great reminiscences, Susan. Thanks. I love the bees coming to the diapers!

it's margaret said...

Yes.... we actually had some... but the spray thing rusted up before we used it... oh well.

When I arrived at the parish I serve, they were starching the linens --and it left a terrible smear on the chalice.... and it tasted awful... one of my immediate liturgical changes!

And, there is still nothing like fels naptha to cut the oils of poison oak and ivy. Still have a bar of it around somewhere....

Grandmère Mimi said...

Paul, I agree that there is something quite satisfying about ironing. I still try to find clothes that don't need ironing, or not much, but when I iron those that require the hot touch, I feel a sense of accomplishment afterward.

In answer to your final questions, my hand shoots up.

When I arrived at the parish I serve, they were starching the linens...

Margaret, that is a delicta graviora in my parish.