Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Clothes Line

The Clothes Line
The clothes line....a dead give away. Do the kids today even know what a clothes line is? I am sure a lot of you are too young to remember the clothes line, but for all of us who are older, this will bring back the memories. . . .

1. You had to wash the clothes line before hanging any clothes. Walk the length of each line with a damp cloth around the line.
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.

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 line was '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.

A clothes line 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 design.

The line announced a baby's birth

To 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 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 gray,

As neighbors carefully raised their brows,

And looked the other way..

But clotheslines now are of the past

For dryers make work 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


Lilli said...

What a great post! We never used a clothesline and my family elders never shared the particulars with me. So nice to get insider tips. Hubby and I do have a clothesline at this latest house we moved into (a 40s bungalow) and it's great to know some aspect of its history.

Thanks for the comment today :)

Sugarplum Cottage said...

I still have mine although I don't use it much. Matter of fact I have an old washing machine, the kind you churned back and forth with the old wringer. It sits in my laundry room. There is no other smell, than laundry hung out to dry. We have all the modern convience of technology being at our fingertips, and yet we can't find time to get everything done. Just imagine life at a simpler time. I know I could go back to that, except my computer. Oh Jean I love this Show and tell thing.

Hugs, RoseMarie

Susie said...

Hi Jean,
Loved reading this post! I still hang my clothes outdoors. (I posted about that last week!)

Simply Heart And Home said...

I love clotheslines. The clothes always smell so fresh and clean! :)

Wanita said...

You post is wonderful. My mom used almost all of the rules you listed. I no longer have a clothes line, but I must admit there are times I wish I did.

Rosie's Whimsy said...

You brought back such great memories! I really need a clothesline again.....especially for sheets and towels. I am one of those gals that loves a rough scratch towel to dry off with!!!

No Rain said...

Boy, did this bring back memories. It's funny that we had all the rules on proper clothes line use, and how concerned we were about what the neighbors would think. I followed the guidelines to the t, and really took a lot of pleasure in the whole process, even though it was hard work and time consuming. Unfortunately, most HOA's will not allow clothes lines; otherwise, now that I'm retired, I would love to do it again on occasion, but I would no longer give a whit about the neighbors think!
Thanks for the memories.

JunieRose2005 said...


What a very good post! I loved reading it...but nothing was news to me with this! When we were first married I had a clothes line- in fact - for several years. I love the smell of clothes dried on a line outdoors...

I'd have a hard time doing that now, though!



What a wonderful post.. really brings back memories.......I have been after hubby to "string one up" for me!!! It is so hot here in florida.. things will dry lickety split!!!
Enjoyin' your Bloomin Tuesday too!!!