Mama, a contented homemaker, had a routine she followed each week, and each day had its own chores. Many women were stay-at-home wives and moms during the 50s, and took pride in their work.
Tuesday was ironing day. It was a special day to me, one of my favorites. When I was very little, I had a toy ironing board and iron. Mom would set them up in the room with her ironing board and we’d iron together. I don’t remember what I “ironed” – probably some of my doll blankets or clothes. When I was a bit older (about 5, I think), Mom started allowing me to stand on a little stool at her ironing board. She would set the iron on a slightly warm setting and give me my dad’s handkerchiefs and some pillowcases. She showed me how to place them flat on the board and press the iron over them very gently until there were no wrinkles left.
Now, it wasn’t only the ironing I enjoyed; it was also the smell of beans cooking on the stove and the warm steam from the bean pot settling over the kitchen. Mama always cooked beans on Tuesdays. She alternated red (pinto) beans, butter (large lima) beans, and navy (small lima) beans. Butter beans were my favorite, then red, then navy beans. We ate them over cornbread, along with fried potatoes and raw onions. Best meal ever!
Supper was always ready when Dad’s happy whistling announced his return from work. We’d gather at the table – my parents, my brother and me – and enjoy our feast. Mom always told Dad when I helped her work. They both made me feel proud when they said, “Well done!” Our home was happy, and I felt secure and loved in my “little girl world.”
Today, with grown grandchildren, I still enjoy cooking beans on the days I iron. My beans cook in a crockpot, though, and I don’t have to iron very often. I don’t think any of my grandchildren have had the pleasure of ironing alongside their moms; there’s really not much need for ironing anymore. Life is filled up with other happy times.
Sweet childhood memories still make me smile. I’ll always be thankful that God blessed me with a mom who enjoyed teaching me how to be a homemaker, and with two parents who instilled pride in me for a “job well done.”