Got an e-mail today with a list of "memories". There were 25 nostalgic things from days gone by and a challenge to see how many one actually remembered. Now this had to be remembered, not heard about! A score of 16 or more made one "older than dirt". I could remember 23...don't feel like Methuselah...not yet anyway!
One item of note was an empty soda bottle with several tiny holes punched in it's metal cap. Necessity being the mother of invention, and obviously this was invented by a mother, it was a handmade sprinkler for wetting clothes and linens in preparation for ironing. Steam irons hadn't been invented back then. Heck I was lucky, we had electric irons in my day, didn't need to heat a heavy chunk of solid iron on top of a wood burning stove. Indeed not all things in the "old" days were good !
Though there were some pretty good old memories, I don't think I'd like to trade in my steam iron for the old sprinkling bottle. We had electric irons however the handy steam iron had not been invented so the ever trusty sprinkling bottle was still a popular item, much needed to remove those relentless wrinkles in cotton and linen fabrics...seems like most of what we wore was either cotton or linen. I remember very well that my mom had a plastic sprinkler with a cork base on it (it was red and white), you pushed it into a small bottle filled with water. Small Coke a Cola bottles were the most popular as they had that lovely hourglass shape that fit one's hand quite nicely.
Our grandma lived before new fangled contraptions such as plastic sprinklers, and either out of preference or stubbornness, I'm not sure which, would forever use the bottle with its cap punched with tiny holes. Might have been from sentiment as grandpa had make it for her. He chose a perfect cap, one not bent or damaged and that fit just right. It had to snap neatly back down onto the bottle top and yet be easy to pop off again for refilling. Too loose and the first shake would send the bottle cap flying and both garment and ironing board would be soaked with water, too tight and it would require the use of a bottle opener to pry it off, which could bend the cap out of shape. Once satisfied with the fit, grandpa used an ice pick to punch holes in the cap, being careful to make holes small enough so water didn't pour out and yet big enough to prevent surface tension from damming the holes and rendering them useless. A fine distinction between too small and too large. Needless to say, a properly punched bottle cap worked just as well, if not better than the fancy plastic sprinkler top.
I also recall my mom sprinkling a bunch of clothes, rolling them up and putting them into the refrigerator. She'd leave them there for a while and then take out one item at a time to iron, seemed that was her method of choice, not sure if it was any better or worse but that's how she did it and that's the truth ! As for me? Thank you, but think I'll take my steam iron any day !
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