Thursday, February 17, 2011


THE BASIC RULES FOR CLOTHES LINES:  (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!
              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.
author unknown...


~~Carol~~ said...

This post put a big smile on my face! I remember my Grandma bringing in clothes from the line that could stand up on their own, they were so frozen. And I also remember my Mom having a clothesline too, but that came to an abrupt halt when one of my nighties mysteriously disappeared from the line!

Annesphamily said...

I love clotheslines. I am anxiously awaiting Spring so Sweets can re string the clothesline and I get busy hanging those clothes! I loved helping my mother when I was a kid! The smell is like no other. I love the poem here too. Thanks for sharing and always for visiting me. Anne

Leslie said...

What a great post Tete... OK, first off, I didn't know I was supposed to wash the line before hanging... Although, I can now understand why someone would. Maybe a passing by bird has left a present? So, I do the following:
#3 absolutely

#6 My mother used to hang out her clothes in the dead of winter. Open the door, whistle and the jeans would walk themselves in the house they were so stiff..

#7, 8 & 9 - You betcha!

#10.. I find that if you dry the clothes on the line straight, they hardly need ironing..

I also hang our undies on the line, to which I get a frown from my daughter, which I'll never understand as some of undies of today are like dental floss blowing in the wind anyway!!!

Lori Lynn said...

Great post, T! I LOVE my clothesline and use it faithfully as soon as it's warm enough! Nothing like fresh sheets on the bed after a nice breeze has blown through them all day!!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Lori Lynn ♥

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

brought back memories of hanging the clothes out on our huge line in the back yard....except towels I hate towels dried outside! LOL

Kathy@ Gone North said...

Well, that was fun to read....
& funny thing it was predicted here all week to be warm today, so I said to Husband, "If it gets to be 50, I am going to hang sheets on the line" Well, it got to 50, but there is still 2ft. of snow under the clothesline, so in the dryer they went... soon though, very soon.... one of my small pleasures in life... crawling in bed with sheets just off the clothesline :)
Thanks for posting that.

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Good Evening Tete Sweetie...
Oh this is one of the BEST yet. I love this one. I can smell those fresh clean towels and sheets, as I type. I so loved that. Yes I remember so wanting to wash the lines, and hang up the clothes, I had to grow a little, I was to short to reach the lines. I loved pushing Momma's pin bag up and down the lines.

Wasn't it funny what one could tell about our laundry on the line. That was such a wonderful time, yes beautiful memories sweetie. Thank you for once again, reaching into my heart and pulling it right on out. I love it.

Hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow. They are calling for rain here. Ya never know. Many hugs and SO much love, Sherry

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

Hi Tete! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a good word. I love your clothesline post! Made me very nostalgic.

NanaDiana said...

I am smiling. The sad thing is I still follow a lot of those guidelines and I can never wait til Spring til I can hang my clothes out again! Hugs- Diana