The Clothesline


These are tools of the trade, I fear soon to become relics of the past.

The sight of an outdoor clothesline has been something very familiar in my life. In the day when the thought of a clothes dryer didn’t even enter the mind there was basically not much else one could do with a load of clean laundry but to hang it outside on a long line that extended from one end of the backyard to the other.  Winter brought a temporary clothesline indoors.

As a child, after immigrating to Canada we lived downtown in a small flat above a little convenience store.  No washing machine, just a couple of washboards and a bath tub to do laundry.  I remember seeing my mother and father bent over the bath tub scrubbing our clothes clean.  Although my scrub board hangs decoratively on a wall in my laundry room, theirs were not decorations. Cb

The laundry hung to dry on a line that extended from a small porch on the second floor to a pole at the other end of the property.   Occasionally clean laundry took a two story fall ending up on the ground in the back of the store.

Someone had to get it!

So many years later I had a clothesline of my very own, I was so excited!

My long friendship with this particular clothes line spanned thirty eight years.  It wore our clothes and imprinted on my mind the unforgettable image of fresh clean laundry flapping in the wind. The sheer pleasure of sticking my nose into a basket of clean clothes taking in the fragrance of fresh air and sunshine was the reward for work completed.

Less favourable memories could be just missing that opportunity to take down the dry laundry from the line before getting drenched by a summer rain shower.  That would include me!

Perhaps even more disheartening would be the sight of wet clothes on an overloaded clothesline crashing down to the ground tired from being weighed down time after time.

My clothesline had a few tales of its own.  I occasionally caught my next door neighbor inspecting my line.  She once told me my laundry always looked clean and approved of the orderly way I hung my clothes. How nice! She probably took note of how many times I washed my sheets and who knows what else!

My most amusing memory would have to be the gender reveal!

There was an older couple living a couple of houses down from us, their back yard facing ours. Close enough to see all that went on in my yard but not close enough to have a neighbourly relationship.

I often saw them watching me as I hung my clothes especially when it was obvious I had come home with a new addition to the family and was hanging out baby clothes.

They must have given up on me after witnessing little boy apparel on the line three consecutive times.   After bringing home a little baby girl I could hardly wait to hang out something girly and pink.  Surprise neighbour!  It’s a girl!

No room for a long extending line in my little back yard these days and I think I’m the only one in my neighbourhood still hanging laundry to dry outside in the summertime. The umbrella type line I use now is not my idea of the best clothesline but it will have to do since there’s no other choice.  It’s hard to guess if future generations will return to the way of the clothesline again.   With shrinking backyards, lack of time and  modern versions of dryers which can do almost anything short of ironing and folding clothes I have my doubts it will make a strong comeback.

At times while driving through country roads the sight of a long, full clothesline extending from pole to pole brings back pleasant memories, the kind of memories a clothes dryer in the laundry room can never bring!

More Than a Clothes Peg

These days it’s easier to find clothes pegs in craft stores rather than the department store laundry accessory aisle.  The last time I purchased them they were on clearance at twenty five cents a package of forty eight.  How could I resist!

Some of my clothes pegs have been around for a very long time and although a little worn out still do their job well.

I’ve been known to do a little clothes peg crafting in my day.  Although clothes pegs are available in wood, plastic and even stainless steel, Traditional Classic Round Wood clothes pegs were just the perfect shape to recreate some of the characters from Anne of Green Gables which made their debut a very long time ago at school. This peg has great potential!

this one

From left to right Anne, Josie, Marilla and Matthew.

The cute little caterpillar is a kids craft I recently made with my grandchildren, fun to make and totally useful holding reminder notes in my laundry room!





2 thoughts on “The Clothesline

  1. Barb Epton says:

    I remember helping my mother hang clothes on the line and that wonderful smell when they were dry.
    Thanks for bringing back those memories.


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