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Remembering Great-Aunt Sophie’s Clothesline

By Rosie Moore

When I was a young girl I spent a lot of summers with my great-aunt Sophie, who lived a few miles outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She was a diminutive lady of German ancestry with long, white hair braided around her head, sparkling blue eyes and a dimple in each cheek. There are many things I remember about her but two distinctive things that I want to mention here. One is the heavenly angel food cakes she made. By word of mouth everyone wanted one and a lot of times over the weekend I would help her make a half dozen or so. The other memory was the comfort I found when I crawled into bed at night. The coolness and fresh sunshine-y smell of the sheets remains with me until this day. A lot of fabric softeners try to duplicate the smell of Mother Nature but I haven’t found any yet that can replicate the smell of sheets dried on the wash-line.

Here are some rules about hanging clothes on that wash-line. She had a long wooden pole that was used to push the clothes line up so that longer items like sheets and pants didn’t brush the ground and get dirty.

1. You had to hang socks by the toes–not the tops.

2. You hung pants by the bottom cuffs, not the waist bands.

3. You had to wash the clothesline before hanging any clothes, walk the entire length of each line with a damp cloth.

4. You had to hang the clothes in a certain order, and hang the whites with whites and hung them first.

5. You never hung a shirt by the shoulders, always by the tail.  What would the neighbors think?

6. Wash day was on Monday. Never hang clothes on the weekend, or Sunday, for heaven’s sake!

7. Hang sheets and towels on the outside lines so you could hide the “unmentionables” in the middle. (Perverts and busybodies, you know).

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

9. Always gather clothes pins when taking down dry clothes. Pins left on the line were “tacky.”

10. If you were efficient you would line the clothes up so that each item didn’t need two clothes pins but shared one of the clothes pins with the next item.

11. Clothes are to come off the line before dinner time, folded and in the clothes basket, ready to be ironed. Ironed? Well, that’s a whole other subject!

Thought for the day: Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.  Victor Borge

Send comments     to: rosemerrie@att.net   or call (865)748-4717.  Thank you

 

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