Ironing Hankies


One of the many hankies I washed and ironed today
One of the many hankies I washed and ironed today

I spent the day washing and  ironing hankies and I still have a bunch more to do.  I couldn’t help thinking of the book The Painted Girls by Cathy Buchanan.  It’s a historical novel about the girl who modeled for Degas’ sculpture The Little Dancer, Aged 14.  (It’s the famous bronze of the ballerina with the real tulle skirt).  One of the many jobs she had besides modeling was working in a laundry ironing.

My back hurts, and an iron warmed up all day gives off more heat than I would have guessed.  I thought of 14-year-old Marie, slaving away in an  1870’s  Paris laundry, hiding the shirt she burned when she was learning how to  iron.  I guess I always relate to characters like Marie in novels.  Few options by tedious, physically demanding, unsatisfying work, the model, instead of the artist.   What my life could so easily have been.

Ironing hankies all day, keeps me humble and grateful for my life and work.

Little Dancer, age 14 by Degas
Little Dancer, age 14, by Degas


2 thoughts on “Ironing Hankies

  1. Dear Maria, How true!! The tedious menial things nobody really wants to do certainly do keep us thankful for all the beautiful things we are privileged to do! Annie

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