This wonderful photo comes from my friend Louise and her sister Alice. It depicts their paternal grandmother, Lucy, sometime in the mid 1950s. Born in 1900, she would have been in her fifties here. There is so much to love about this image: her rather dressy outfit for a household task, including a matching sweater and skirt set and a shirt with crisp tucks; her advanced ironing skills (note that she uses a press cloth on what her granddaughters think was a pleated apron); and her fancy cigarette holder.
Born in Maryland, Lucy was married to a career army officer and lived all over the country. She raised her husband’s son by his first marriage and later joined the workforce, earning an MA in social work to help returning veterans from World War Two. You can see at a glance that she was a classy woman.
This photo made me think about the lost art of ironing. As someone who sews, I spend a lot of time at the ironing board—you can’t sew without pressing. However, not too long ago I stayed with an old friend on my way to a wedding. When I asked for her iron to touch up my wedding outfit, she said that she didn’t own one. I was shocked—to me it was like saying that she didn’t have a stove. She was equally shocked by my request.