Sunday, January 27, 2013

Remembering Mom's Clothesline

There is one thing that's left out. We had a 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.

You have to be a "certain age" to appreciate this one....

I can hear my mother now.....
(This is my Mother, many years ago, hanging the wash out)

THE BASIC RULES FOR CLOTHESLINES: (Sooo true... - this is the way my Mom did it and so did I.)

(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, y'know!)

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.

12. IRONED???!! Well, that's a whole OTHER subject!

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 grown!

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 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 out on that line.


Lynne said...

Loved the clothesline rules. I hang my wash out whenever I can and follow every single rule!

linda eller said...

I am sorry to say that I dont have a clothesline now either, but do remember very well, hanging them out, watching as the wind blew them dry and how wonderful they smelled when you took them down and brought inside..................for that dreaded ironing! Have a nice day!

Jackie said...

Patty...Mama still has a clothesline...uses it every day (except Sunday) and the rules are exactly the same! So, it must be a clothesline rule that has been passed on for generations!
I understood each one...completely!
Love this.
Hugs and love,

Charles said...

Yep, mom used line too; sometimes inside when rainy. Edna still uses line about twice week, but few rules like those. I remember in Temple when pic of mom's laundry on line made the newspaper.

Wanda said...

Oh my goodness Patty...That is so true..I knew everyone of those "Clothes Line Rules" and followed them to the tee!

I always said my mom's clothes line was like a painting she did her hanging so well.

Kavita Saharia said...

We still use clothesline, seldom use dyrer.

Beth Niquette said...

I remember hanging clothes on the line with my Mom. She had many of those same rules. I can still remember her out in the sparkling sunshine, pinning clothes just so, and in order on the clothes line with those wooden clothes pins.

Remember that fills my heart with the happiness I felt as a child, watching Mumsie, helping her--and the aroma of the wash after it was dry and gathered to be folded, was pure heaven.

I also remember watching my Grandmother iron. Somehow she made it look fun. The way she ironed clothes in a certain order and way was magical.

Thank you for sharing this!