They Sang As If They Knew Me

Morland_Maid-IroningI love linens. I love ironing. I love folk music.

And I love a man who loves a woman who irons.

Imagine, just imagine, how I would feel about the melding of all four of these loves! Can you imagine?!

Well, my friend with a Vintage Attitude could imagine, and she rocked my world by introducing me to this song:

DASHING AWAY WITH THE SMOOTHING IRON

(YouTube video)

‘Twas on a Monday morning
When I beheld my darling,
She looked so neat and charming
In ev’ry high degree
She looked so neat and nimble-o
A-washing of her linen-o
Dashing away with the smoothing iron
Dashing away with the smoothing iron
Dashing away with the smoothing iron
She stole my heart away.

‘Twas on a Tuesday morning
When I beheld my darling,
She looked so neat and charming
In ev’ry high degree
She looked so neat and nimble-o
A-hanging out her linen-o
Dashing away with the smoothing iron
Dashing away with the smoothing iron
Dashing away with the smoothing iron
She stole my heart away.

‘Twas on a Wednesday morning
………………..
A-starching of her linen-o
Dashing away ……….

‘Twas on a Thursday morning
………………..
Ironing of her linen-o
Dashing away ……….

‘Twas on a Friday morning
………………..
A-folding of her linen-o
Dashing away ……….

‘Twas on a Saturday morning
………………..
Airing of her linen-o
Dashing away ……….

‘Twas on a Sunday morning
………………..
A-wearing of her linen-o
Dashing away ……….

Oh. My. Goodness. I finally have a theme song.

The lovely lassie spends every day of the week working on her linens—I can relate!

But who would write a song about ironing linens??

Ah, the British, of course. The song seems to have been first published by the musicologist Cecil Sharp (1859-1924) and appears to originate from Somerset.

Those Somerset gals knew their linens!

I love that the song has a long history but, more than that, it’s a song about being adored for taking good care of linens. You don’t find a lot of folksongs honoring the hard work women did!

And work hard this woman did, to keep the linens clean.

She washes them. She hangs them to dry. She starches them. She irons them. She folds them. She airs them. And she even wears some of them, on Sunday, when she rests from the other tasks and steps out on the town!

Maybe I should change the last two verses of the song, to reflect the other steps I take—that’s the very essence of the oral/folk tradition, right?

My last verses will go like this:

‘Twas on a Saturday morning
………………..
Taking pictures of her linen-o
Dashing away ……….

‘Twas on a Sunday morning
………………..
A-selling of her linen-o
Dashing away with the smoothing iron
She stole my heart away!

Now if I can just get my husband to learn to play this song on his guitar. And to agree to gaze adoringly at me while he sings it . . .

___________________________________

How about you? Do you have a theme song that sums up large chunks of your life?

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35 thoughts on “They Sang As If They Knew Me

  1. And to think that song was written back in the day when irons had to be heated on a stove and swapped out for hotter ones as they cooled off. I do wonder, though, about the cleavage displayed by the fair ironer in your illustration. Somehow I don’t think she irons for a living.

  2. Oh, how wonderful for you to be introduced to this song as you’re old enough to appreciate it. Like most British children of my generation, I was raised knowing and singing it….. but I can’t stop now, because – ’twas on a Thursday, 3 o’clock, that I beheld a leaden sky, a-raining on the socks and shirts all hanging out to dry…….

  3. that is one of my favorite nursery songs….My grandchildren all love it, specially with the actions. I certainly knew it as a child. 

    • I don’t know you well enough to guess, of course, but when I saw this comment, the Jim Croce song “I’ve Got a Name” immediately popped into my head. I’m sure it’s because of the way it starts:

      Like the pine trees lining the winding road
      I’ve got a name, I’ve got a name
      Like the singing bird and the croaking toad
      I’ve got a name, I’ve got a name.

      It makes me think of all your outdoor wanderings and musings!

  4. Like all things British there is also a ‘saucy’ version. Smutty end of the pier show fun rather than blush inducing. May be on you tube too. Love the original.

    Theme song? This charming man by the smiths? I need to give this more thought (and check the lyrics!) ha!

  5. We used to sing that song here in primary school – I think it probably got banned sometime in the 70’s 🙂 I’m so glad you have found your theme song! And of course one would never iron looking anything less than as pert as this one! Happy ironing! 🙂

    • I have to say, I hope this isn’t the theme song for my whole, entire life! I like ironing but, really, there’s so much more! It’s odd how everyone seems to know this song, except me!

  6. Oh, this song has found its home with you! Delightful. The illustration reminds me of infomercials where the person, after huffing and puffing over some ‘hard’ household task, changes to the new tool and does the task without a drop of sweat or a muscle flex. I am sure your lovely husband will sing that song just for you as you attend to your linens.

    • Maybe that illustration was the equivalent of an infomercial! Too bad someone can’t invent a self-propelled iron, like those little robot vacuum cleaners–I bet they’d sell!

      • I bet they would but perhaps one won’t be invented till men have to take full responsibility for the ironing. Although that could be a sexist remark. For all I know the inventor of the robot vacuum was a desperate housewife.

  7. Oh, how romantic…I am sure your sweety has no problem to aubade and serenade this to you while you lovingly caress your linens with an iron. Maybe you could do this on the balcony whilst he is down in the garden??? I see it all in my minds eye….what a lovely scene, Shakespeare eat your heart out!
    Well and I happily share my theme song with you, not so dashing as yours but very sweet indeed: ‘Our House’ by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. And Mr. Walker and I always have a little dance when Neil Young praises the Harvest Moon….

    • What a romantic imagination you have! And I love that your theme song is “Our House”–from what I have learned about you and your world, it sounds just perfect (with the minor change of substituting “one dog” for the “two cats.”)

  8. Although these are just two lines from an old rock and roll song by Johnny Burnett, “Dreaming”…they come to mind quite often as I’m on the internet searching for info on some obscure silver manufacturer….”Searching, I’m always searching….Hoping some day I’ll find…”

    You certainly couldn’t find a better theme song, Kerry!

  9. So glad to have introduced you two! ‘Twas a match made in perfectly ironed linen heaven. No idea what my song would be but I have always felt an emotional connection to Don’t Rain on My Parade when Barbra belts it out! Could just be my inner gay man of course!! Happy ironing…and singing….

    • My inner gay man likes Defying Gravity from the show Wicked! I couldn’t believe how everyone who commented on my post seemed to know the Smoothing Iron song! It’s as if there’s an approved songbook for the British Isles but Americans are never allowed to peek into it!

  10. Haha, I just love that you have a theme song! You should definitely record your husband singing it so that you can listen to it whilst you iron 🙂 I haven’t come across a song which sums me up yet, but I’ll keep looking … xx

    • I don’t really thinks this song totally sums me up (I kind of hope not!) but it’s fun to see how it relates to my endless piles of linens. I’m sure your song, and mine, are evolving!

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