Monday, August 21, 2006

Clothesline


There is something wonderful about a clothesline full of clean sheets, billowing in the breeze. This was my backyard line, yesterday.
I love the opportunity to hang out my laundry, especially sheets and towels. I try to do my washing on my days off work for this very reason. I know it is a luxury to have a dryer, especially in winter. But there is something more to line-dried clothes than merely saving a few bucks on the electric bill.
There is a certain ammount of nostalgia in line drying. It is something people have done for eons. A clothesline speaks of humanity. A basic need for cleanliness.
When I peg up my sheets, I can see my Mom and Grandma doing the same thing way back when. When I was little, we didnt have a washer and dryer. Mum hand washed in the sink and put things through the wringer. Then, summer or winter, things hung to dry. On wet days, we used an indoor drying rack. It was a set of maybe four or five lines strung up on a pully. We had 13 foot high ceilings, and the laundry would hang up above everything in the kitchen. You had to be careful what you cooked or the clothes would smell of dinner! In that old damp house, nothing ever really dried thoughroughly. Mum used to air our clothes out over the fire guard in the mornings so we would have warm dry things to put on.
Summer was the best though. When everything would go on the line. On wash day, you could always tell things about your neighbours. Who had boys or girls. Who had the most practical underpants. Who got their socks the whitest, and who washed their sheets regularly!
When I put out my washing nowadays, it fills me with a sence of practicality. I love to see it flapping in the breeze. Most of all I love the smell of the sun and wind that traps into the fabric. Not much can beat slipping between the sheets of a freshly made bed.
Well maybe slipping between them with somebody else!

10 comments:

Ms. Vickie said...

Oh those memories and yes those smells , you are right how nice it is to see the clothes hanging and flapping in the breezes. I loved that when I lived in Kansas because by the time I would finish hanging they would almost be dry.

Thank you for your very special comments of late. Things are very difficult but I do have to just work them out and getting them out is helping in some ways it is easier and in other ways more difficult than I thought----now that really made sense. :)

Monica said...

It is SO COOL that you wrote this because Julia and I were looking at the real estate section and she wants a backyard big enough for a pool or hot tub and I want a clothesline and told her about the smells and running through the line of sheets. She said it would be a lot easier to just grab a towel off the line then instead of having to bring one outside...geez. Wonderful nostalgic post, Susan. :)

poet said...

i miss having a clothesline. because of park rules here in our new leased land community, the only type of clothesline permitted are those umbrella ones, that you have to cement into the ground. at our first appartment, there was a deck, and i ran rope back and forth, hung out laundry every nice day. (cheaper than paying the coin dryers). next year we'll have a line of some sort. i love the smell of fresh dried material. happy tuesday. poet

David said...

Gosh does that bring back memories from my childhood. We always had to hang out our clothes as we did not have a dryer when I was home. I hated doing that especially hanging my mothers unmentionable....

Karen said...

You've just brought so many memories to the surface. I used to love to help my mom hang laundry and play hide and seek around the sheets. Thank you for that!

Have a wonderful day!

Dick said...

All the years I was growing up my Mother said she didn't want a clothes dryer. She liked the smell from clothes dried outside and in the winter she had clothes lines in the basement of our Spokane house. Of course those made it harder for me to build my model railroad layout below them and when we built a shooting gallery in the basement we had to be sure to keep the sight line to the targets as well as our firing position low so the .22 cal bullets didn't hit the clothes. Those hung near the targets did sometimes get lead spatter on them but it usually brushed out once they had dried.

Good memories but I don't want to give up my dryer now. I learned to use a clothes line while in Yuma this past winter. Clothes are not as fluffy & soft that way as they are from a dryer.

Bobbie said...

I've always had a clothes line and love the smell of the fresh sheets.

Growing up in Edmonton we had a wringer washer, and summer or winter, the clothes would be hung out on the line. In winter they would be frozen solid and my mom would bring them in and hang them in the basement. They still had the fresh outdoor smell even though they would dry indoors.

Laundry soaps and dryer sheets try and copy the smell but it's not the same as the 'real thing'!!

molly said...

I loved your post. It brings back memories of my grandmother's house in Montreal, and how she did her laundry on the old wringer machine and then hung it out back on her clothesline. I haven't thought about that for a long time. I used to love going to visit with her and my mom's extended family. Thank you!

Summer said...

I love the smell of freshly washed sheets that were hanged outside to dry. It does bring back memories. But to tell you the truth, thank Godness for electricity and dryers especially in the cold winter months. You cannot beat the warmth of the dryed clothes!

Tab said...

jeese now I feel like going out and buying a clothes line!!!!!
thanks for sharing~