by Vickie McDonough
This was a momentous year for our Heroes, Heroines & History blog. We're finishing up our third year of blogging on history. For a time, we had days that didn't have a blogger, but we have a full crew now. Probably the most exciting event was hitting the one millionth page view mark, with guests visiting from all over the world. If you're not yet following, our blog, please sign up to receive our daily vignettes of history.
I'm deviating from the normal end of the year posts. This fall, I cleaned out my mother-in-law's home and found all kinds of interesting things like antiques and old family pictures. The following information about clotheslines was hiding in a stack of papers. I'm sharing it in hopes of bringing you some fond memories as folks are often looking back at this time of the year.
Do you remember using the clothesline to hang up your wet laundry. I do. I remember going out and washing the line--Mom was fanatical about that. Then the slow task of hanging up the various garments, always ending up with the sheets or towels on the outside with the unmentionables in between them. I also remember the lovely crisp scent of sun-bathed sheets--and being grossed out by the fly specks on them. :) I hope you enjoy the rules about clothesline and the poem.
THE BASIC RULES FOR CLOTHESLINES
1. Hang socks by the toes, not the top.
2. Hang pants by the bottom or cuffs…..not the waistbands.
3. Wash the clotheslines before hanging any clothes by dragging a damp cloth the entire length of each line.
4. Hang the clothes in a certain order and always hang whites with whites and hang them first. (we never did that)
5. Always hang a shirt by the tail, never by the shoulders. What would the neighbors think?
6. Wash day is always on Monday, and clothes must never be hung up on the weekend or on Sunday.
7. Hang the sheets and towels on the outside lines to hide your
“unmentionables” in the middle. (Yep, did that)
8. If the weather is sub-zero….clothes would “freeze dry.”
9. Always gather clothespins when taking down dry clothes.
10. For efficiency, line the clothes up so that two items can share a middle clothespin rather than using two clothespins for each item.
11. Clothes must be taken off of the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the laundry basket and ready to be ironed.
12. Ironed? What's that?
And now a poem:
A clothesline was a news forecast, to neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets when clothes were hung to dry.
It was also a friendly link, for neighbors always knew
if company had stopped 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 tablecloths, 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 night-clothes, and a bathrobe too, haphazardly were strung.
It also said, “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 out on that line.
Did you ever hang your laundry on a clothesline? Did you help your mom with the clothes? Do you have a clothesline story to share?
Have a safe and blessed New Year!
Stained Glass Mandalas contains over 50 unique designs. It also features fascinating vignettes about the history of stained glass and interesting facts about tools, technique, and the glass used in creating the colorful projects. These optically engaging patterns stimulate the brain and induce creativity.
Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is a best-selling author of more than 45 published books and novellas, with over 1.5 million copies sold. Her novels include End of the Trail, winner of the OWFI 2013 Booksellers Best Fiction Novel Award. Song of the Prairie won the 2015 Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Gabriel’s Atonement, book 1 in the Land Rush Dreams series, placed second in the 2016 Will Rogers Medallion Award. Vickie has recently stepped into independent publishing.