Friday, February 13, 2015


Recently my aunt found an old clothespin bag from my grandmother and sent me a few of her clothespins as a memento. Seeing the clothespins immediately sent me down memory lane. I remembered the sheets hanging on my grandmother's line when we visited and the overalls that were worn by both my father and Theo that had hung on the same line. But mostly, my thoughts centered around hanging up clothes during my youth.

Our family got a dryer when I was a baby and my mother always talked about how happy she was when she got it. She was finally going to have a way to dry diapers and everyone else's clothes on a rainy day. However, we still hung most of our clothes outside. I remember that my father put up a clothesline just for me and it was my job to hang up all of the washcloths. And as time went on, I took my turn hanging up all of the wash. I learned how to stretch the clothes to have the fewest wrinkles and hang shirts from the tails instead of the shoulders. I also learned about sublimation at home long before I learned about it in school because we hung out clothes all times of the year even when they froze on the line. But they did get dry even if it took a little longer than in the summer.

And I learned at church to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. So when my mother had no other choice than to do the wash on a Sunday, I worried about what the neighbors would think when they saw it hanging outside. Now I understood that they thought here is a woman with a big family that sometimes had to catch up on things after church. But most of all, I learned the wonderful smell of clothes dried in the sunshine. There was nothing better than climbing into bed with freshly washed sheets that had dried outside.

Today, I don't hang up clothes outside because of allergy problems in the family. We dry them either in the dryer or on folding drying racks. Most of the time I don't think much about this part of our laundry routine, but today as I go down memory lane, I sure do miss the smell of freshly dried sheets from the line outside.