“I dwell in possibility…”

I tried to emerge from my cocoon this morning by opening doors and windows to the world, but it took the humidity only a few minutes to start making the house uncomfortable. I gave in and turned on the air conditioner. Mother Nature is vacillating. We have sun for a few minutes then clouds then sun again. I have no preference. I’m inside the house.

I have an iron. It was a house warming present forty one years ago. It looks like new. Before I could afford a dryer, I used it a lot to iron blouses, but it has been gathering dust for years. Now I need it. The clothes I just bought arrived wrinkled. I thought about washing and drying them hoping to get the wrinkles out, but I decided it was laziness and beyond the pale so my iron and I will get reacquainted today.

When I was a kid, every summer day was filled with possibilities. I saw my town as a giant place. I could go to the square and check out Woolworth’s or walk inside the post office because it always felt cool no matter the outside temperature. I’d stand at the Chinaman’s side window and watched him iron clothes with a big flat machine. Just up the street was the barber where my father went. I always looked inside that window too. If I had a dime, I’d stop at Middlesex Drug Store for a vanilla Coke. It was made at the soda fountain with Coke syrup, fizzy water and real vanilla. The drugstore counter had a dark granite top though I didn’t know what it was called back then. I just knew it was cool to the touch. Sometimes I headed home from there. My route took me passed the fire station. The firemen always sat outside on warm days. Next was the town hall. If I was hot or tired, I’d sit on one of the benches under the trees for a stretch. I’d keep going and walk through my empty school yard. From there I’d take the familiar walk home I took every day from school.

I  can close my eyes and still see it as it was. I never thought the square was small. I loved all those stores. I loved the smell of baking bread from Hank’s Bakery and the less than pleasant smells coming from the fish market. Popcorn aroma filled the square when the candy factory was making it. The firemen always said hello. My town was just right for a kid looking for possibilities.

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8 Comments on ““I dwell in possibility…””

  1. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    My iron is an old one that looks like new. The only time I use it nowadays is to steam block a finished knitted item like a lace shawl or a sweater. Everything else gets ironed by spraying it with wrinkle releaser and tugging the wrinkles out. So much easier. And cooler. The thought of ironing today is not to be entertained.

    You and I shared a fondness for vanilla cokes. Mine was obtained at the Colonial Spa on Main St. I don’t remember what the counter top was made of but it was always cool to the touch as well. The Colonial was our daily stop on the way to my friend’s house after school. We usually had vanilla cokes and a brownie and then we would peruse the comic books in the magazine stands.

    The weather here is hot and sticky. Sometimes it’s sunny and sometimes it looks ominous but nothing happens when it does. I have been outside only to let the dogs do their thing. Looks like I’ll be living in AC land for this week.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I never thought about an easy spray, but that would necessitate a stop at Stop and Shop which I have avoided for months, maybe a steamy bathroom.

      The soda fountains made the best vanilla cokes. The ones Coke released just didn’t taste right. I think they had to be made from scratch. We used to stop for a brownie with chocolate sauce at O’Grady’s Diner on Main Street.

      I went out to water the deck plants. I turned off the AC and opened the doors while I was there. I also sprayed the deck to get rid of some of the acorns. I was only outside for 20 minutes and in that time the house got 5˚ warmer. I too will be inside until further notice.

  2. im6 Says:

    I was just discussing my iron yesterday. Or rather the iron I once had. I’ve had several (I’m now down to two) and for many, many, many years I was a frequent and champion ironer. Not so much any more now that I don’t have to get dressed up and go to work (my default setting is now gym-type shorts and tee-shirts which don’t require ironing). But back in the day…. The discussion yesterday was about how the last time (only time, if I remember correctly) I ever got a ticket driving was for speeding when I was returning to college from a weekend at home. There was no room in my budget (if you can even call something that limited a budget) to pay for a ticket, so I had to get creative and decided to take in ironing from the gents on the floor in my dorm. Well, I did quite nicely. Paid that fine and even made a little extra to boot. I know my way around an ironing board! I can thank my mom for that (she was too busy working to iron my clothes when I was a kid). And thank her I do. She also taught me to cook, to do laundry and how to clean house. That last one I don’t practice like I should, but I can and do when push comes to shove (as in pushing and shoving the dust around). These are skills most boys and men seem to lack and are even becoming less common for girls and women these days. Maybe this is progress; maybe it’s evolution, but things seem to be changing. I won’t be around to find out where it all ends up, but I hope somewhere someday somebody will lift up a can on Niagara spray starch and toast me!

    • katry Says:

      im6,
      This is my one and only iron. When I worked, I used to save up what needed ironing then do a marathon of a Sunday devoted to ironing. Now my dryer does all the work for me. I make sure I hustle down cellar so they don’t sit at all in the dryer.

      In Ghana the irons use charcoal. Even at the beginning of training, many of us managed to find someone to wash and iron our clothes. I never once ironed anything in all that time.

      My mother didn’t teach me anything because I didn’t want to spend the time learning. I didn’t even know what the buzzing of the washer meant. I got an apartment my junior year and then started to learn to cook. In Ghana, I baked for the first time: Christmas cookies. I actually became an excellent cook and could cook and bake just about anything.

      I’d forgotten all about Niagara Spray!

  3. Bob Says:

    Since the invention of wash and wear I’m not even sure we own an iron. Does Sunbeam and GE even still make irons? Are there now digital controlled irons?

    Small town America used to thrive around the town square. In Texas most of the county seats have the courthouse at the center of the square. Unfortunately, many of the businesses around the courthouse have been killed off by big box stores and now by Amazon. I haven’t been in a real barbershop in years. I now get my hair cut at a chain salon like Super Cuts where they are hair stylists and not barbers. Next time I’m going to go to our one neighborhood barber shop for a real haircut.

    When I was in high school in NYC I lived in Jamacia which is a part of the Borough of Queens. I grew up in the same area as Trump which explains why there were no black people in our area north of Jamacia Avenue. The corner drugstore was exactly as you described but without the soda fountain. In NYC there was a soda fountain in a candy store on every corner. My uncle took his dress shirts to the hand laundry which was owned by an Asian family who we assumed were Chinese. His shirts came back wrapped in brown paper and folded around a cardboard sheet. They were heavily starched so that they could stand by themselves. 🙂 I don’t remember the fire house but the police precinct looked like a fortress and a cop always stood guard at the door every day. Many of the cops in NYC in those days were Irish. They walked a beat and swung their night sticks on a leather strap. If you ever saw the TV show Barney Miller, you would know what a NYC precinct detective squad office looked like.

    Today it’s another clear hot day. It’s a normal 97F degrees.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I actually think you can still buy irons. I know my tablecloths and napkins need to be ironed. I could send them the cleaners, but I just rather not spend the money on tablecloths and napkins.

      Amazingly, my old town square has been revitalized with a live theater and a variety of restaurants. I can now choose to eat Thai, Japanese, Italian or Indian food. There is even a cafe.

      My father only had his shirts lightly starched, but they do came in a brown wrapped package. We used to save the cardboard for craft projects. There was no candy store but most of the drug stores had soda fountains. The police department was part of the fire department building. I could see the radio from the window.

      Hot and humid here as well.

      • Bob Says:

        Last year we went to Grandbury Texas to see a play at their residence company opera house. The stores and restaurants on that town’s square have been revitalized as a tourist attraction. Walmart and other big box stores seemed to be doing well in Grandbury. Interestingly, the county seat of most of the 256 counties in Texas are approximately 60 miles apart. That was planned in the 19th century so farmers would always be within 30 miles of a market center. The roads through most of the counties are labeled FM meaning farm to market.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        There are no big box stores in my old town but from there you can take two different highways and get to malls. There are no close tourist attractions but you can go north to New Hampshire and beyond. I don’t know anything about FM to market around here. There some farms but few.


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