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.
REMEMBER THE BASIC RULES FOR CLOTHES LINES?
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
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
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
9. Clothes off of the line before dinner
time, neatly folded in the clothes basket, and ready to
10. IRONED?! Well, that’s a whole other
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 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.