Tuesday August 4, 2015

Since today is my birthday and Kathy and I are getting ready to go to NYC tomorrow I am cheating with this slice and sharing something that was sent to me by a friend.  This did bring back memories of my grandmother on washdays (Mondays).. I remember shoveling snow from under the clotheslines in the winter so that the clean clothes didn’t touch the snow.

Living where we do, many people still hang clothes out to dry.  We have a line in our back yard but don’t use it.  Well, here is what my friend sent.

And in lots of places they are illegal. It’s the poem at the
end that’s the best!!!
Remembering Mom’s Clothesline.
THE BASIC RULES FOR CLOTHESLINES: (If you don’t even know what clotheslines are, better skip this.)

  1. You had to hang the socks by the toes… NOT the top.
    2. You hung pants by the BOTTOM/cuffs… NOT the waistbands.
    3. You had to WASH the clothesline(s) before hanging any clothes –
    Walk the entire length of each line with a damp cloth around
    the lines.
    4. You had to hang the clothes in a certain order, and always
    hang “whites” with “whites,” and hang them first.
    5. You NEVER hung a shirt by the shoulders – always by the tail!
    What would the neighbors think?
    6. Wash day on a Monday! NEVER hang clothes on the weekend,
    Or on Sunday, for Heaven’s sake!
    7. Hang the sheets and towels on the OUTSIDE lines so you could
    Hide your “unmentionables” in the middle (perverts & busybodies,
    8. It didn’t matter if it was sub-zero weather… Clothes
    would “freeze-dry.”
    9. ALWAYS gather the clothes pins when taking down dry clothes!
    Pins left on the lines were “tacky”!
    10. If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that
    each item did not need two clothes pins, but shared one of the
    clothes pins with the next washed item.
    11. Clothes off of the line before dinner time, neatly folded in
    the clothes basket, and ready to be ironed. IRONED??!! Well,
    that’s a whole OTHER subject!
    12. Long wooden pole (clothes pole) that was used to push the
    clotheslines up so that longer items (sheets/pants/etc.)
    didn’t brush the ground and get dirty.

And now a POEM…
A clothesline was a news forecast, To neighbors passing by,
There were no secrets you could keep, When clothes were hung to dry.
It also was a friendly link, For neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by, to spend a night or two.
For then you’d see the “fancy sheets”, And towels upon the line;
You’d see the “company table cloths”, With intricate designs.
The line announced a baby’s birth, From folks who lived inside,
As brand new infant clothes were hung, So carefully with pride!
The ages of the children could, So readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed, You’d know how much they’d
It also told when illness struck, As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe too, Haphazardly were strung.
It also said, “On vacation now”, When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, “We’re back!” when full lines sagged, With not an inch
to spare!
New folks in town were scorned upon, If wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows, And looked the other
But clotheslines now are of the past, For dryers make work much
Now what goes on inside a home, Is anybody’s guess!
I really miss that way of life, It was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best… By what hung on the line.


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22 responses to “Clotheslines

  1. This is great. Brought back many memories. The poem is very true. Happy birthday.

  2. There was a friendliness about this, I remember. I helped grandparents and my mother hang them out. It wasn’t so pleasant in the winter. Those end “T” poles were our kind of climbing, hanging-by-our-knees jungle gyms. In my estate sale I let go of my husband’s grandmother’s clothespin bag, just couldn’t keep it all, but it was special in our house while we had it. You’ve brought back lots of memories with this. Thank you. Happy travels tomorrow & have a wonderful birthday!

  3. Judy C.

    Happy Birthday! Hope you and Kathy have a delightful time in the City. Ahhh, the clothesline. Brings back many memories. There are times when I wish I still had a clothesline. I can still remember the fresh smell of the clothes. Even after my Mother passed, my Dad continued to hang the clothes on the line. Our kids don’t know what they’ve missed!

  4. My mother was a firm believer in hanging the laundry out. One of her favorite stories to tell is about the time, when my twin and I were still in diapers, that a stranger knocked at out door. He was driving past and saw the laundry flapping in the breeze and wanted to know how Mom got out diapers so white. She told him her secret: bleach and sun.

  5. mrssurridge

    Loved this. While I remember Grandma using the clothesline, I didn’t know the rules. I will look forward to your rules for ironing!
    Great poem and Happy Birthday!

  6. By the time you read this you will have celebrated your special day in great style, so happy birthday Robert! As for the clothesline, what memories you bring back with the “rules.” I never thought about wiping the line down first, but it makes sense.

  7. I enjoyed this and thank you for it.
    I hang clothes to dry, inside my home (they don’t smell nearly as good.) But it can be silly to pay for electricity for something free. Except towels! We know how scratchy they get… 🙂

  8. This brought back so many memories of my Grandma snapping out damp sheets before hanging them to dry. She had a special cloth bag that she hung on the line, filled with her clothes pins. Thank you for bringing back images I didn’t realize I’d forgotten.

  9. First, Happy Birthday! I hope you have a lovely time celebrating. I have a clothesline up here at the farm, and so does everyone else. I love driving along and watching those clothes dancing on lines from home to home. So friendly!

  10. rosecappelli

    Happy Birthday! I love the smell of clothes hung to dry on a line. It is the smell of sunshine!

  11. Happy Birthday fellow Leo and to Kathy. I remember my mom’s clothesline. One day I realized they were gone and I was so sad, but for years my mom kept her’s going until it was more than she could continue. I loved being with her as she hung her basket and took them in dry.
    Great poem details…. I’m smiling in the darkness, remembering.

  12. Terje

    Happy Birthday to you and Kathy! I can proudly say that clotheslines are still part of my life, especially during the summer in the country side. We do not follow all the rules. The most important thing is to have a sunny weather, preferably with some wind.

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