The Clothes Line

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Nice, very nice.  I can still see my Mom washing and taking clothes out to the clothes line.  Of course all 3 lines had to be wiped clean to remove the black stuff (probably mold) and bird poop. She accomplished all of what was mentioned. Gary


You have to be a certain age to appreciate this. I can hear my mother now. If you don’t know what clotheslines are, you had 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 is 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 in the basket, and ready to be ironed.

10. Ironed?! Well, that’s a whole other subject!
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!