Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Clothesline: Memories

The clothesline is a familiar object that conjures up the fluffy teddy bear on fabric softener commercials and nostalgic footage of running children and smiling mothers putting out the laundry. A clothesline is an ordinary object that doesn't receive much attention except when I see clothes hanging on them as we are driving. "I can't believe people hang their underwear outside for everyone to see, " I often say. The response I get is usually, "Well, everyone already knows what underwear looks like." "Yeah, but not HIS underwear!" (Did you know yesterday was National Underwear day? My favorite radio station morning deejays on Coast 93.1 {} talked all about it on my ride to work: the underwear stats on who wears what and they revealed what they prefer for underwear. I mean, I would never say that publicly, especially on the radio! It was funny though. They are funny! ) Okay, I admit it I'm a prude!!! It never ceases to amaze me that in rural Maine, where people tend to have 1-100 acres of land to their name and they still string the laundry off the side or near the front of the house for everyone to see. It's even funnier when the tightie whities are neatly strung side by side sharing clothespins!
Don't get me wrong I love clotheslines and the memories they conjure up. My mother had one and still does. She uses it too. Her clothesline was, and is, in the backyard, and she never strings the unmentionables up end to end, thank goodness, although I'm sure doing so maximizes drying efficiency. One of my jobs as an older child was to hang out and bring in the laundry. I believe our first clothesline was a metal round-about with the plastic lines. Later someone built one out of wood with rope for line. As a kid I loved the smell of fresh clean laundry and running under and through the sheets, towels, and "dungerees" flickering in the wind. Because Mom worked, the laundry often went out before 8 and came in sometime after 5, which often meant the clothes were dried to a nice, crisp, board-like feel, not the soft, breezy laundry you see in commercials. Consequently, when I met my husband and he began visiting on weekend he had a few too many rough towel experiences and one year for Christmas everyone in my family received a new green towel as a present. To this day he doesn't like the idea of hanging laundry on the line for that reason-- board-like, thin, sandpaper towels. I think fabric softener and bringing the laundry in as soon as it's dried would do the trick, meaning you have to be home to bring in the laundry. I'll have to test it someday, when I have more time to BE home! Happy Laundering!

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