My father had a phobia about damp clothes because he spent a very long year in his early teens battling pneumonia which almost killed him.
His phobia was extreme and Mother, who was the opposite, used to regale us with stories of how he would want to shelter for hours from rain rather than get wet, even if it was freezing cold and likely to rain for days.
One of my lasting memories was a night I went out when I was about seventeen. That was a ‘gap’ year for me and I made the very most of it.
I slipped out of the house after tea and somehow Dad got to hear that I was wearing a pair of jeans which had been washed earlier that day. He got into a frenzy and as good as had a hospital bed booked for me.
He had no way of contacting me as I was mobile but there were no mobile phones. (I still like to leave mine at home if I get a yen to be ‘free’ and off the leash, so to speak.)
Anyway, nothing would do him but to drive around looking for me to get me home and out of the damp jeans.
He couldn’t find me and when I eventually sneaked back home, he was waiting with a look of concerned madness.
I tried to explain that I had put the jeans into a dryer thingy called The Flatley which ate electricity and was only meant for emergencies. That was crime enough but to him a helluva lot better than a dose of pneumonia.
I could see he wasn’t sure if I was telling the truth as The Famous Flatley was so out of bounds and also shrank damp clothes and I seemed to be fitting into the jeans.
What he hadn’t witnessed was the 15 minutes of agony trying to squeeze into the bell bottoms that I thought were beyond cool. It was a real case of: Pride knows no pain, trying to walk in those two sizes too small jeans.
But, a few hours on the razzle dazzle had softened them out and they were back to normal when he saw them.
My going-outs didn’t get back to my normal for quite some time and it wasn’t because I had pneumonia!
P.S. I have no idea why this episode came flashing into my mind this morning. Maybe it’s because I have never got over the fact that Monday is washing day even though I don’t adhere to that as every day seems to be washing day in this house anyway.