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How Mom Mastered The Mangle

How Mom Mastered The Mangle

A little girl in my son’s swimming class is cared for by her grandmother, while her single mother works full-time as a nurse.

Grandma Mame and I are on the level. We see eye-to-eye and share the same dearth of patience—a side effect of nose-diving over the hurdle of your forty-eighth birthday.

My son’s swim bag is exploding with clothes—underwear, socks, trainers, flip-flops, swimming goggles and boy-accessories of all kinds—that spew across the change room in a fine, colorful array.

“Where did the avalanche of all the clothes come from?” I blurt out, imploring Grandma Mame. “Do you remember having so many clothes when you were a kid?”

She cocks her head momentarily, to contemplate this and says: “No, there were fewer clothes. I’m certain there were.”

“My mother had five kids” my tirade builds with the volanic of frustration drip-fed into my consciousness by a full day with my three year old, Lizzie, who bounces like Tigger and buzzes like a bee, as if boosted by an Eveready battery with a steroid augmention.

“And I’m drowning—gasping beneath the torrential rainfall of smelly laundry—from just two! She would have died beneath the flood of our clothes if we’d had so many!”

Grandma Mame nods in agreement. She gives me a compassionate smile. “There were certainly fewer garments”, she repeats, comfortingly.

“And you know what else?” I’m on Hitler’s soapbox now, shaking my forefinger at my rapt audience.

“My mom used a mangle (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Wringer)!”

“A mangle?”

Grandma Mame was stopped dead in her tracks like a roadside rabbit. I had her Panavision focus now. She’d been born in the early ‘50’s and recognized that beast.

“That’s right” I told her righteously, calming myself in the satisfaction that, at last, someone had acknowledged the poignancy of the complaint. “My mother had a washing tub with an electric wringer in the basement of our house, at the dawn of the sixties.”

A wringer (or a mangle) which was designed to “wring” the water out of wet clothes in the tub, looks like a tool that could have been used successfully for male interrogation at Guantanamo Bay.

Grandma Mame sighed. I had just been inaugurated to the Midlife Mom Hall of Fame.

“And it took an hour just to wash and press five shirts through the mangle without turning her fingers into ground veal. Forget about having to hang them on the clothes line afterwards.”

That’s why I had remembered so well at three years of age. My round, Bambi-sized eyes were watching with terrified fixation, wondering if her fingers would be masticated with the next “feed”.

Grandma Mame smiled mischievously.

“I suppose you’ve heard the one about ‘the time ma got her tits caught in the mangle’ then?”

Sure I remembered that one. I smiled also, suddenly seeing the “light” in the situation.

“Yes, there were certainly fewer garments back then, weren’t there?”

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2 Responses to Caught In The Mangle?

  1. admin says:

    We had a mangle when I was a child.

  2. Angel says:

    So did we, however, nothing but clothes ever got caught in it. :-)

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