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From Judy Bolin, Columbus, Ohio

The Clothes Line
My wife was after me for a clothes dryer for Christmas.  I got her the best one I could find and she has been mad with me ever since.

My goodness what kind did you get her?

The best clothes line they had. One that wouldn’t rust, with a large bag of clothes pins. You just can’t make some women happy.



You have  to be a certain age to appreciate  this.  I can hear my  mother now  ...

THE  BASIC RULES FOR  CLOTHESLINES:  (if  you don’t know what clotheslines are,  better skip  this)
    1.  You  had to wash the clothes line before hanging any  clothes - walk the entire lengths of each  line with a damp cloth around the  lines.
    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  neighbors think?
    4..  Wash  day on a Monday! . .. . Never hang clothes on  the weekend, or 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 clothes pins 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 clothes pins with the next washed  item.
    9.  Clothes  off of 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!
They forgot to mention the “Clothes Poles’. They were long sticks with a notch on top that held the line up in the middle. The bottom was stuck in the ground.

                  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, “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.

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