Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers
Yesterday I received a post from my daughter forwarded to her from friends. It was a wonderful revelation of the story clotheslines once told about a family's life. I had to laugh at the rules listed, for they were exactly those my mother and later I followed. There was a special way to hang out the clothes. Oh, yes, we once actually hung our washed laundry on lines out in the sunlight and wind.
Though we lived in the country when I was small, a place where there were no clotheslines but rather nearby bushes or fences and fence rows held the wet laundry, we moved to town when I started to school.
Being an author, I was intrigued by the stories that drying laundry often told. If you looked at the lines of laundry hung by my grandmother, you saw that she did not want anyone passing by to see her unmentionables. They were hung on the center line with sheets flapping on one side and towels on the other to make sure no one could even catch a glimpse of what she wore under her slip and dress.
When a new baby came to the family down the street, then out went diapers and tiny bits of clothing always hung proudly so as to be very visible. Families wanted everyone to know about the additions\ to their fold. By checking the sizes of jeans and dresses one could tell about how many children lived in every house up and down each block.
Another hard and fast rule was that wash was done every Monday morning and hung to dry. It was left out until the sun went down to catch every last ray. We had to fold the clothes as we gathered them, dropping them into baskets to carry inside. That made them easier to iron than if we wadded them one on top of the other.
You might wonder why this memory tickled my author's fancy. It caused my imagination to soar. One could easily walk down any block on a Monday and envision what stories lived behind the doors of each house by checking out the laundry. Dad worked in an office in the one with white starched shirts on the line; Mom liked to wear a fresh apron each day to protect her two or three dresses that had to last for a week. Johnny had been sick because the small bed sheets were many on the line. And oh, there next door, a new baby had arrived.
And so the stories went. Being an historical writer, I'm more interested in things of the past than of the present. Other rules intrigued me. Never leave the clothespins on the line, it looks tacky. Hang socks by the toes, shirts by the bottom hems and pants from the cuffs. I used to fold them on the crease and hang them that way so the ironing wouldn't be so tedious.
Oh yes, we ironed. Today, my iron would clatter and bang if I took it off the storage shelf, for it hasn't been used in many years. When we think of all the conveniences that have displaced such things as clotheslines, phonograph records, irons; Oh, my, I won't even try to list them.
Do you have a fond memory of something you once did that has become obsolete? It might be fun to write about it.