The Mangle

mangle   My mother HATED to iron…seriously hated it with a passion.  I can remember getting a small play iron with ironing board…child sized that actually worked and got hot too(wouldn’t be allowed in today’s world…)

She started me off on hankerchiefs and by the time I was 6 I was doing shirts!  I loved doing it most of the time…except when my older brother would complain(now that I think about it, how come he didn’t have to do his own shirts?!)  Anyway, he was complaining about how there wasen’t enough starch on the collar and cuffs…I decided to give him something totally starched…I starched under the arms as well…trust me, that shirt was so starched it could stand by itself!  He never complained to me again.(when he got married, he complained to my sister in law when she ironed his shirts…he complained one time too many and she then had all of his shirts sent out to be done).

At some point, my mother convinced my dad that she needed a contraption called “the Mangle”…my brother and I always called it “the Mangler”.  The Mangle was a large rounded iron that had an attached roller.  You’d sit in front of it and you’d have a lever at the outside of each of your knees.  The one lever would bring the roller up or down and the other lever would cause the roller to rotate.

She’d sit there and everything would get permanent creases…everything, shirts, pants, tablecloths…everything.  My brother was in High School at the time and would always complain about the sharp creases that were in the front and back of his pants(usually khakis).  Mom always said unless he wanted to iron his own pants, he had to put up with the creases.  Until one day…the mother of one of his classmates came into the bakery and while there asked how Mom did my brother’s pant creases because her son wanted them(apparently quite a few of the boys wanted them) and he told her she didn’t do them right!   My brother never complained about the creases again…

til next time…Eva


6 thoughts on “The Mangle

  1. My mom had one too, and she taught me to use it. I now own a table top one, much smaller and does not have rollers or the knee “accelerator.” I never use it because of all the no-iron clothes and fabrics.

  2. Oh. MY. WORD!!! Do I remember mangles!!!

    My Grandma had one. It wasn’t quite like the one in your picture, but hers was the same principal. The metal parts were painted bright pillarbox red, and it had long rubber rollers. I LOVED it when Grandma allowed me to turn the mangle.

    She would stand on the other side of the thing, with her sheets which she had washed in her really old fashioned top load washing machine, removed, and then folded whilst wet, and then feed them into the ‘jaws’ of the mangle

    I had to turn the mangle at just the right speed – because if I went too fast and she hadn’t had the chance to make sure the folds were in the right place, then I’d get a telling off!

    Ohhh, I loved the mangle!

    However … my mother too, had a mangle – but this was an electric one which was attached to the top of her very first electric washing machine. I’d been warned and warned to keep away from the mangle – but I was bewitched by it, and one day, when the phone rang while Mom was putting washing through the mangle, I reached up and put my fingers on the roller.

    All I wanted to do was just feel the smoothness of the roller.

    However – that was the day that I was taught a very important lesson. When your mother says not to do something – then she’s saying it for an extremely good reason, and you’d better do as you’re told, otherwise doom and despair descends upon your head!

    Or … upon your arm in this case.

    Those rollers GRABBED my fingers. The stuck themselves to my finger tips and pulled them into the ‘mouth of the mangle monster’! The rollers continued to roll … further and further my hand ‘disappeared into it’s mouth … I screamed!!

    “MOM! MOOOM!” I yelled from where I stood, slowly being eaten by this dragon in the middle of our kitchen.

    I looked back at where my hand should have been on the end of my arm, and it had been swallowed!. It WAS NOW STARTING TO EAT MY WRIST!!!

    “MOM. MOOOM. I’M STUCK. MOOOOOOM!” by now I was screaching.

    I could just about hear her voice and I knew she was still on the phone because I could hear her posh telephone voice.

    I looked at where my wrist had once been, and could see that my whole arm was about to be sucked, forcibly and violently into the point of no return. I was going to be eaten by this machine. I would be squished flat and probably dead. The machine began to make a very bad noise. It was growling and groaning.

    This was it… this was where my short life was going to end.

    I was just about to shout again and suddenly like an Angel which had been sent from God, there was my mom coming through the door to the kitchen … she was going to save me!

    Thank you God for inventing Moms!

    “HELP ME. . . ” I cried. “IT’S GOT ME AND WON’T STOP!!!” … by now I was feeling the pain of me pulling against the pull of the mangles rollers. This machine was far stronger than I was.

    My mother stopped for what seemed like a second, took in the scene and instantly knew what to do … She turned the machine off at the socket, and pulled out the plug. The growling groaning noise stopped, and the mouth stopped trying to pull me in and eat me up.

    She lifted something on the top of each side of the rollers – sort of like a little cap – and then lifted the top roller out.

    Ohhhh LOOK!!! There was my arm! It was still there. I stood gazing and marvelling like an idiot at the wonderment of my arm still being intact and not all grizzled and eaten. There wasn’t any blood or anything!

    I was feeling so much gratitude and thankfulness towards my mom for saving me from the gates of purgatory that I flung myself at her. I was going to give her the love of her life, and squish her in a big hug like she’d never had ever berfore in her life.

    She caught my on the shoulders, one hand on each shoulder and just for a second I thought she was going to ask me if I was ok, and then probably kiss me and hug me and love me as one would love a favourite child. But I couldn’t have been more further from the truth if I’d have suddenly found myself on Mars.

    There she stood, bent over slightly, one hand on each of my little shoulders (one of which by the way, was attached to the arm which had just been eaten by the Mangel Monster) and she shook the living daylights out of me, giving me the biggest telling off I’d had in my life at the same time.

    I heard how much pocket money I was going to be paying for the rest of my life if that dream machine was broken. I heard that I should: ”wait till your father hears about this, young lady!” and I also was told that my mom was “going to tell Grandma that you mustn’t be trusted with a mangle ever again!”

    I was bewildered. Did this woman not realise the danger I’d just been in? Did she not understand that the very machine she was concerned about had just nearly eaten me alive? Surely she had to see that this very machine was evil!!!

    Strangly enough – it was that last threat, regarding her telling my Grandma that I shouldn’t be trusted with a mangle – which was the one that made me howl. I was sent to my room to wait there until I was told to come out again. (I was in so much misery at that point that I didn’t care if I wasn’t allowed out of my room ever again! What was the point if I couldn’t roll the handles of my Grandma’s Mangle, and even worse – my mother loved the Mangle Monster more than she loved me! Surely it was the Mangle which should have been thrown out. Not me!!)

    Yes … I have fond memories of Mangles. 😀

    … and yes, it’s a true story. ~ Cobs. x

    • Cobs…I certainly hope you are putting your Mangle story on your blog! It’s much funnier than mine! Thanks for letting me share your memories of “the Mangle!” Eva x

  3. For manymany years, I didn’t have a dryer, and line-drying almost always leads to having to iron. I would set up my board in front of the tv and watch cricket – the 5 day kind. These days, I do it on Sundays while watching football 🙂

    And I second the motion, Cobs …You’ve got to put that story into a blog post.

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