Monday, October 11, 2010

Clothes Lines........

When I read the email at the end of this post it brought back so many memories of a new bride 50 years age! The experience that Edward and I had is at the beginning...... I hope you enjoy it......


When Edward and I married, we moved to a town a distance away where we had no family....and no family washing machines. We lived in a rental house and had one car, which Edward drove to school where he taught. I washed our clothes in the bath tub.....this included bed linens. It was a chore to squeeze the water out of sheets...I weighed a whopping 89 and 3/4 pounds. We didn't have a clothes line but a kind hearted neighor invited me to use hers.


A few years later we bought our first newly built home and we purchased a washing machine from the high school Home Economic's Department. They were replaced every 2 or 3 years. It was a front loader with scales in the drop down door. I was in high cotton!


When the machine finished the washing cycle, it wouldn't empty the water. My dear husband opened the door and all of a sudden there must have been a hundred gallons of water on the kitchen floor and rushing down the hall. Lesson: NEVER OPEN A FRONT LOADING WASHING MACHINE FILLED WITH WATER!!!!!!!!! The house builders had used the drain as a garbage disposal!


I got a dryer after the birth of our daughter, Amy.....and I did get a clothes line. I was using post hole diggers to dig the holes for the poles which took most of one day. A couple of days later, I couldn't move, laugh, cough and it hurt to breathe. My husband carried me to the doctor and he was sending me to the hospital for tests when I remembered the 'post hole' digging. He canceled the tests and I came home to the heating pad! Needless to say, I don't use post hole diggers to this day......

Our daughter, Mindy's husband, Chip, made a new pair of wooden cross arm clothes line posts several years ago and brought them 160 miles on his truck to me. He laughed and said when he stopped to buy gas the attendant cast questioning glances at him. Guess he thought Chip was going to a 'hanging'.....and not for clothes!


Still, sheets hung out on a sunny, summer day surely do smell mighty fresh when you go to bed...

Some old habits still work just fine....

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Basic Rules for Clotheslines
You have to be a certain age to appreciate this. I can hear my mom now...
THE BASIC RULES FOR CLOTHESLINES: (If you don't know what
clotheslines are, better skip this.)1. You had to wash the clothesline before hanging any clothes. Walk the entire length of each line wiping the line with a damp cloth.2. You had to hang the clothes in a certain order, and always hang "whites" with "whites," and hang them first.3. You never hung a shirt by the shoulders - always by the tail! What would the neighbours think?4. Wash day on a Monday . . . Never hang clothes on the weekend, certainly not Sunday, for Heaven's sake!5. Hang the sheets and towels on the outside lines so you could hide your "unmentionables" in the middle (perverts & busybodies, y'know!)6. It didn't matter if it was sub-zero weather . . . Clothes would "freeze-dry."7. Always gather the clothespins when taking down dry clothes! Pins left on the lines were "tacky!"8. 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 clothespins with the next washed item.9. Clothes had to be off the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket, and ready to be ironed.10. IRONED? Well, that's a whole other subject!

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 grown! It also told when illness struck, As extra sheets were hung; Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too, Haphazardly were strung. It also said, "Gone 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 way . . .. But clotheslines now are of the past, For dryers make work much less. 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!

15 comments:

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Oh, I love this post! I remember so well my blogging partner and childhood friend "C"'s mom and my mother visiting across the fence as they hung out the daily wash. We played under their watchful eyes! I also recall the "obsene" phone call my mother received concerning her "unmentionables" (bras and panties) on the line. She always thought it was our eggman who delievered eggs and vegetables in the summer!

Sharon said...

This post brouht back such lovely memories of my childhood. My Mom was a "Modern" woman who had plenty of time for work, but not much time for home. That's okay, that allowed me to spend precious time with my "Godly" God-Mother. My "Aunt" Louise would hang her laundry (wth me hanging around her ankles all the while), EXACTLY as you describle. The order NEVER varied. As she and her neighbor chatted over their laundry, they decided who would take what to a neighor/church member in need, encourage each other in their "walk" with the Lord and solve world problems all while hanging their laundry.
Those years are long-gone, but the memories remain. We live in a gated community that doesn't forbid clotheslines (due to State Law and "green" initiatives) but a clothesline in this development would look sorely out of place and probably lower property values. Even though I now have a dedicated "laundry room" with a lovely washer and dryer (color-soordinated with the room's "theme"), I really miss those "clothesline" days. Thank goodness I still have the wonderful memories!

Reflection Through The Seasons said...

Dear Friend Betty.....

I have enjoyed this post immensely..... full of nostalgia..... evoking memories not only of my own early married life, but also of my childhood, when there were no modern labour saving devices way back in the ‘40s & ‘50s. There was very much a routine to household chores in those days and Monday was always washday. Early in the morning, Mother would fill the copper boiler with buckets of cold water and the gas was lit to heat it..... when heated some of the hot water was transferred into the large galvanized washing tub together with the limited choice of washing powder of the day.... Rinso or Oxidol I seem to remember were favoured. The boiler was topped up again and left to boil. Mondays always had a certain smell about them, a soapy smell, that filled the whole house and greeted me when I walked in through the yard gate from school.

Yes, so many thoughts come flooding back... I may even write a post about this myself.

Have a blessed weekend. Marion

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Anonymous said...

I remember cleaning the clothesline each and every time I hung clothes. Also laundry on Monday, ironing on Tuesday after sprinkling the clothes with water, placing them in a plastic laundry bag and left overnight in the fridge. Isn't that how everyone did this? Oh the good old days, and you are so right, NOTHING smells like freshly dried clothes, sheets and towels from outdoors. But now I use my dryer and once in a while hang out sheets. Thanks for the memories. LOL

Connie said...

It was my job to clean the line when I was a little girl. I wanted to hang up the clothes but I was not old enough but I could give my Aunt the clothespins. And of course, I could help get the dry clothing in the house again. Just memories. A beautiful post!

Glenda said...

Love your stories! The email brought back so many memories - some of which I had forgotten. I had forgotten how we cleaned the line . . . hung pieces together to share pins . . . hanging shirts by the tails. I do remember walking alongside Mama handing her pens from the clothespin bag, one she made, I'm sure. And I certainly remember gathering the sweet-smelling clothes - and the pins! We had a wringer washing machine that we used with two big tubs sitting on a bench Daddy built.

Thanks so much for sharing this!

Glenda said...

Love your stories! The email brought back so many memories - some of which I had forgotten. I had forgotten how we cleaned the line . . . hung pieces together to share pins . . . hanging shirts by the tails. I do remember walking alongside Mama handing her pens from the clothespin bag, one she made, I'm sure. And I certainly remember gathering the sweet-smelling clothes - and the pins! We had a wringer washing machine that we used with two big tubs sitting on a bench Daddy built.

Thanks so much for sharing this!

Nancy said...

What a great memory, I do recall the clothes out on the line from time to time and the great way they smelled when brought in to be folded.

Mary said...

Betty, I absolutely loved this. I still use a clothes line.

Blessings,
Mary

Barbara said...

Loved reading your early memories Betty. Although hard at times we did enjoy life then did we not!

How it made us appreciate things when we did get them.

Barbara said...

Just for the record Betty. Inspector Lewis takes place in Oxford not Cambridge.

Sue Giannotta said...

Thanks you Betty for coming by with condolences on the loss of my Mother. I hope all is well with you and if I don't talk to you before Christmas that all is merry and bright.
Blessings and much love,
Sue

Undeserving Grace said...

Those are great memories to share..i'm dropping by from undeservingrace.com I'd love have you over for a visit or two!