Mom's Old Flatiron

Remembrances of my childhood...

“What is this thing,” I asked. “This was my mother’s iron…” she said, as mom reached over and took the object from my hands. “I’ve keep it all these years just to remind me of how things used to be.” I remember that conversation that mom and I had that day as we were cleaning out the basement, getting rid of things seldom or never used anymore. She took my small hand in hers as we sat down for a moment of rest from our chores. Mom tried to set aside a Saturday usually in the springtime to set out the flowers and clean up the garage and basement of all the clutter that had accumulated since this time last year.

Did your mom keep anything from her childhood?

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mom's old flat iron
mom's old flat iron

I had hurt my foot on that old heirloom...

I had remembered running into it with just my socks on when I was younger. Mom had used it for a door stop to hold the door open from what used to be our (the boys’) bedroom, but was now the den and the living room where the children weren’t to enter unless we had company visiting, or Christmas or maybe for pictures. I had been much younger then and after I had hurt my foot on the old heirloom, mom had replaced it with a large seashell someone had given her. She had then taken that old flat iron, wrapped it in newspaper placing it in a large shopping bag for safe keeping and took it to the basement. I could tell by the look in mom’s eyes, she was having second thoughts about discarding it now, so I said I would place it back on the shelf for a while longer, all the time re-arranging the things around it so it could not be easily knocked off and hurt some unsuspecting grandchild during a time of prowling.

safety pins
safety pins

That way she always had one warmin'...

She went on to tell me how hard her momma had life back when she was a little girl and how her mom had to heat that old iron on the top of the kitchen stove before she could iron my mom’s little dresses when she was a little girl. I tried to image the hard times they must have had having to cook on an old wood stove which doubled as a second source of heat during the cold winter months. Her ironing board was just that, an old board with a sheet wrapped around it and pinned on the bottom with a few safety pins, placed on the corner of the kitchen table closest to the stove so she wouldn’t have to reach so far for it when needed. She said he mom would use two of them, that way she always had one warming on the stove while using the other one.

“That’s just the way times were”

“Mom didn’t complain,” she said, “that’s just the way times were.” That sorta made me glad I hadn’t come along any earlier than I did. We didn’t have a whole lot maybe, but we had electricity now and mom didn’t have to iron our clothes the way her mom had to when she was a little girl.

© 2010 SamSonS

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Comments 31 comments

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I remember flat irons like that. Probably my grandmother on my mothers side. They also had a wood burning stove which might have been teh primary source of heat.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks dahoglund for your quick reply. Folks definitely had harder times back then...

heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

Yes, I believe there was less complaing back in those days! The generation that made it through the depression, the holocaust, the civil war etc...had much more appreciation for life! Then, every blessing that came with each new day:)

Did you see the episode on the Walton's...where Jason was inspired to write a song, to go with the rhythm of his grandma ironing the clothes? You have to see it, it is so cute, and the music is fun and catchy!

Awesome memories you put together here! It is the simple things of life, we seem to hold dear:)

FloBe profile image

FloBe 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

My memory is of the old foot pedal Singer sewing machine that grandma had and still used! Later Grandpa adapted it so it was electric but the foot pedal would swing anyway :) I got Mom's old sewing machine that she bought a couple of years after her and Dad got married (63 years ago.) My Mom taught me how to sew on it when I was 12 and it still works! I like the memories it holds for me.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

*thanks heart4theword for your gracious comments. I don't remember if I saw that particular Walton episode, maybe I can find it on yourtube...

*and thank you FloBe and welcome to my circle of friends. Hope you enjoy your stay and please look around to see if there might be something else you like. I have my mom's old Singer also that my dad converted into electric and it works.

blessings to you both...

lifegate profile image

lifegate 6 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA


Thanks again for a trip into the past. I love reading your stuff!

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thank you lifegate, glad to see my words do not fall in vain...

Kristeen profile image

Kristeen 6 years ago from Michigan

Mom didn't have a flat iron, but I remember her ironing EVERY piece of clothing we owned, even the bedding. I guess it may have had something to do with the old ringer washer she washed our clothes with. Like FloBe, I also remember my grandma's foot pedal sewing machine.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Samson, We have some big kettles and cookware that came from my husbands grandmother and it is still use-able. I remember seeing those flat irons also.

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"Quill" 6 years ago

Many of the things you write of are reminders for me. Some have been passed down to each child. Dad was a barber and he had a razor strap he used to strop his straight razors old barber razors which and well I must own up to the fact it was a handy strap as well for an unruly child like me. It was the norm in those days when a child misbehaved to supply a reminder they were to mind their parents.

Dad later shared with me as he presented it to if anyone of his children earned it well it was me. I still have it hanging in my studio as a reminder of the respect and love I had for this man.

Blessings and Hugs

Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

laughed out loud on this one... but it was my grandmother who still has the flat iron... great hub!

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

*Thank you Kristeen for sharing your sweet reminisce. I also have my mom's old Singer sewing machine that my dad converted into an electric and I learned to sew on it.

*And thank you Pam for your kindness, I guess I'm just sentimental about the old ways and I have plenty of reminders. Do you think this this could be my 'nitch'?

blessings ladies...

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thank you my dear friend Quill, my dad had a strop also, but if it wasn't handy he used his belt. I also remember the taste of the back of his hand, but you know what... His correction was out of love and made me the man I am today. That little picture in one of my hubs might be a deception, my brother said I was mean as a snake and I guess I was.

blessings to all...

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks Rebecca, seems I was answering a few comments when you dropped in, also, it appears there were a lot of our relatives that used the older things. Maybe next I write about mom's sewing machine or her old churn...

Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

ha ha don't get me started on an old sewing machine... seems it is the age that they lived in, my grandmother can't throw anything out that she can still use... no matter how old. I think I take after her... which iis a good thing in my mind

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks Rebbecca for your additional reply - My wife has this inclination of helping me get rid of my old things thereby making more room for hers...

cristina327 profile image

cristina327 6 years ago from Manila

Great hub with great memories. You have indeed a wonderful mother and you have great memories of her. Thank you for sharing these pleasant memories with your mother. Blessings to you and best regards.

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Its funny what we take for granted these days... My grandmother had a flat iron.. never used anything else.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

*thanks cristina327 for your gracious comments.


*and thank you carolina for sharing your reminisce...

Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

samsons1: Voted up and awesome. Thank you for another trip down memory lane. I too remember my mom using one of those irons. I guess that makes me old, but what the heck, it's so nice to be remembering things like this with fondness.

Brother Dave.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thank you my dear brother in Christ. Glad you enjoyed the hub.


daydreamer13 profile image

daydreamer13 6 years ago

Very good hub. So glad I had the pleasure of reading this.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thank you so much for your visit and your nice comments...

jacobkuttyta profile image

jacobkuttyta 6 years ago from Delhi, India

It remind me of the Iron box which heated with coal.

Nice hub. Thanks

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks jacobkuttyta for your visit and nice comments...

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain

I remember those flat irons, when I was small my mum had some which she heated up on our kitchen range. How she managed to iron anything with those things with out scorching them I will never know.

My mum use to hold the iron close to her cheek and she could tell if it was the right temperature to use.

She would also do a little spit on it and if it sizzled it was ready.

Fortunately by the time it was my turn to help with the ironing we had an electric iron with a thermostat on it :)

I enjoyed strolling down your memory lane.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks maggs224 for your visit and for sharing such a nice reminisce. Things are certainly better now that when our folks were homemaking. Come back again real soon...

JimmieWriter profile image

JimmieWriter 6 years ago from Memphis, TN USA

The ads on this lens are for hair straitening irons. :-) That is so funny! I guess there's not much marked for cast iron flat irons today. I certainly wouldn't want to use one. I barely ever use my fancy electric iron.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks Jimmie for your visit and your interesting comments...

Chin chin profile image

Chin chin 5 years ago from Philippines

The other week a friend just mentioned this type of iron which he said his mom used when ironing clothes. I'm glad to be in this generation in the sense that life is easier. But there are so much to learn from the old days - simplicity of life, learning to be hardworking, and without complaining - values that is becoming scarce nowadays.

Have a nice day!

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks so much Chin chin for your visit and your nice comments. Life is certainly easier today than it was back during my parents time, but I wouldn't change a thing. My memories give me something to write about...

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