Sunday, August 22, 2010


I should have taken a picture. My dryer broke so we rigged up a clothes line in the backyard. Hauling clothes up the stairs, out the door, pinning, bending and retrieving brought back memories from my childhood. I'll never forget the reaction of Aubrey feeling the stiff towels and clothes, "you expect me to WEAR this, and put this stuff on my baby?" Nothing like a good exfoliation with your towel every day. We didn't have to buy those special grainy cleaners.

Anyway, it really brought home this thought my Aunt Betty sent via email:

When growing up during the 50's, and living in the era during the 60's, we had several most satisfactory revolving symmetrical aluminum contraptions featuring 'built in' clotheslines proudly featured in the backyard.

And during the cold months during those freezing mid-west temps, my Mother strung some actual 'lines' in the basement -- our family never owned a dryer.

You have to be of a certain age to appreciate this and many of you don't, but I sure do -- have a hearty laugh on me !!!

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, and 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 hung 'whites' with 'whites' first, and then the 'coloreds' with 'coloreds'.

3. You never hung a shirt by the shoulders, but always by the tail. I mean, what would the neighbors think?

4. Wash day was on 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 might see, donchaknow?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 were 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 few differences for me - we had the T-post lines that had several rows strung between the two big "T"s. Building our new clothes line, with walkway below was a big part of the new house. Grandma J had the same kind, built by the same guy :) After they sold their home and bought a mobile one they switched to the circular type but Grandma still liked to hang her sheets out there, long after we were using dryers. We also did laundry on whatever day worked - if it wasn't raining. I think the ironing helped with the stiffness too since we "sprinkled" the clothes first.

1 comment:

  1. In addition to the long, linear clothes lines that we had outside we also had a wooden folding rack that could be stood up inside the house to hang clothes on in the winter. Most of the female unmentionables were hung on it to dry.

    I was probably 16-17 years old before we got a clothes dryer in our home.


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