Friday, January 16, 2009



Old Trunks knows what the answer is: Grandma would patch it. Remember that bottom sheets were not always fitted, rather two sheets the same size and neither was marked top or bottom.

On regular mattresses, that is, mattresses as we know them, the bed was made with crisp corners called hospital corners. Unless you were slaying dragons and fighting tigers in your sleep, the bed stayed together from change to change.

Before regular mattresses with feather bedding or quilts for mattresses, it is hard to say if sheets as we know them existed in the hamlet of Rosewood.

In my childhood, there were two choices: Percale and muslin. Percale was finer but according to grandmother's theory, muslin, after numerous washings would get finer. Ours were white percale until the colored sheets became the thing. Grandmother never did that, she believed sheets needed to be bleached and hung in the sun to dry--or in the winter to freeze dry, then brought into the house and hung over clothes racks to make the house smell summery!

At hour house, the sheets were always hung on the line even if there was a dryer. Instead of hanging them over the racks, they were mangled.

What is a mangler? A machine with a roller and a hot shoe. One feeds the fabric through on the roller and it presses the item. Our beds were changed on Fridays and Mother 'did up' the other sheets.

All of this gave me the impression that percale sheets had a finished feel. Not so, I learned the first time they were over dried in a laundromat dryer. It was hard to get in step with this whole change bed on Friday and NOT have a way to press them. Being a new bride, I did at least, iron the pillow cases.

Forward a couple of lifetimes and imagine my dismay when, during the last month, I found a small wear tear on my side of the sheet. These sheets had been in rotation for many years and considered the favorites. If patched, I would feel it, if the sheet was inside out, it would be on Tom's side. If I just turned it end to end, it would be under my legs.

It is important to say that many sheets have come into the house only to be given away because they were too this or that. Archie got the red ones when he bought the interim mattress, Karen got the navy blue ones, the not deep enough for the space bed went to the lake. One set of deep pockets was purchased and is in rotation but they don't have that slide feeling. Do you know what I mean?

For the sake of sanity, Wednesday is bed changing day here. It all started when Tom announced he was going to try to get out of town on Thursday evenings. I moved everything back two days to make it work and stayed with the program. After all, it isn't like I am going to the dance at the auditorium and would come home on Friday nights at midnight and slip into fresh sheets.

As many of you may know, there is a virus going around. Some nights you freeze other nights you roast. Last night appeared to be a stretch out night and in my waking times, I got my toe caught in the tear and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d just a little more than usual and heard the sheet r-i-p.

It was not a shot heard round the world, it was a wimpy little feel and hear sort of tear.

To my grandmother, that sheet may still have some merit. She would cut the good part out and find a use for it. If she ever considered wine colored sheets, she would buy a bottom sheet to match the top and pillow cases.

Mother would toss it and replace the lot.

This is the ODE TO THE WORN SHEET what would you do?


No comments: