Monday’s Wash

   Written by on January 22, 2015 at 2:49 pm

Last Monday while traveling to a doctor’s appointment, this reporter couldn’t help but notice all the backyard clotheslines full of clothes.  It was, indeed, a beautiful day and evidently still a Monday’s wash day.

Most of the clotheslines were out here in our countryside.  It made me wonder if my generation is probably the last one to use clotheslines.  Lots of places in our country won’t allow clotheslines now because they are said to be unsightly!

logo-community-newsWhen our three children were at home, we had eight lines and on Mondays, all lines were full! Some folks had long lines with a wooden pole nearby to use to push the clothesline up so the longer items didn’t brush the ground.

I think the majority of America probably uses dryers now but, I must admit, there’s nothing like the smell of clean clothes drying in the sun, especially sheets!

I really didn’t know that there were basic rules for clotheslines but after some interesting research, I found them:

Wipe off the lines with a clean damp cloth before hanging clothes.

Hang socks by the toes, not the tops.

Hang trousers by the bottoms/cuffs, not by the waistbands.

Hang clothes in a certain order and always hang the “whites” with “whites” and hang them first.

Never hang a shirt by the shoulders, always by the tail!

Wash day is always Monday! Never hang clothes out on a weekend or on Sunday (for Heaven’s Sake!)

Hang sheets and towels on the OUTSIDE lines so one can hang “unmentionables” in the middle.

Always gather the clothespins when taking down dry clothes.  Pins left on the line are “tacky”!

If you were efficient, you would line up clothes so one of the clothespins could be shared with the next item.

It didn’t matter if it was sub-zero weather….clothes would “freeze-dry.”

I actually remember doing all of these things because my mother apparently taught me these basic rules. Clothes were to be off the line before supper, neatly folded and ready to be ironed.  IRONED?!! Well, that’s a whole OTHER subject!

And now this poem that this reporter also found:

A clothesline was a news forecast to neighbors passing by.

There were no secrets one could keep when clothes were hung to dry.

It also was 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 nightclothes 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 mostly 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 because it was a friendly sign

When neighbors knew each other best…by what hung on the line.

Leave a Reply