Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!

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.


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.


  1. Happy New Year! Thank you for this post, it brought back memories for me. I loved the smell of laundry that was placed on the clothesline to dry. I miss that. I tried to talk my husband into putting a clothesline in the backyard but he didn't want everyone to see our laundry. We just put in a six foot tall maybe now he'll do it for me. :)

    Cindy W.
    countybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

    1. I loved that sun-kissed fresh scent too. Good luck! I hope you get your clothesline.

  2. I love your post, Vickie! What memories it brings back! I hung out clothes for years and always enjoyed doing so. My mother and our neighbor next door always met at the fence that separated our yards on Mondays after they hung out their clothes. There was many a problem discussed by the clothesline.

    I hope 2018 brings good health and happiness to you and your family.

    1. Thanks, Melanie! I think my mom talked to her neighbor too.

  3. Happy New Year! I did grow up hanging clothes on the line, and to this day would rather hang my clothes on inside bars than dry them, if I have a choice. Living in town made my husband (!) shy about me hanging laundry on a line, so I haven't had one now for many years. Now that we've moved to a more rural setting, I may be able to coax him into giving me at least a small line. We'll also have to talk with the resident ravens, and see if they'll share the lawn and leave my clothes alone!!!

    1. I hope it works out for you to get your clothesline. We just moved to a house that has a more rural setting-a first for me.

  4. Happy New Year everyone here at HHH! May 2018 bring the BEST God has for you & yours :-)

    We didn't hang stuff outside on the clothes line often. I do remember one house we rented that didn't have a dryer though. There was one of those circular clotheslines outside and my mom did hang things up to dry. They always smelled like fresh sunshine when we took them off. I'm not sure what we did during winter time though, probably used the local laundromat. Snow and wet clothes don't mix well, lol!

    I certainly didn't know there were "rules" for hanging clothes, but I see where they make sense :-) Thanks for sharing, it's an interesting read!

    Blessed 2018 everyone!

    1. There have been times we dried clothes inside on a line. Now, though, I pretty much only use my dryer.

  5. A Wonderful New Year to all on HHH. Believing 2018 to be filled with God's gifts of peace, joy, love, grace and favor.

    Thank you for bringing back fond memories of the clothesline. Your basic rules for hanging clothes on a clothesline, I could identify with. I miss not having a clothes line these days. The memories of having multiple lines in the country growing up.

  6. One of my mom's heavy iron clothesline posts is still in the yard, lying down in the corner.

  7. I can still smell the sun on bleached cotton. My mom had us share a clothespin between two items, too! Beautiful trip down memory lane. Thanks for stirring the memories, Vickie.