Here’s a memory for any of you old enough to remember:

We had rooster in the chicken yard where the clothesline was. Mom would carry a stick with her because he would try to peck or spur her when she went out for the laundry. He made a delicious Sunday dinner. How many of you remember “the clothes line”?

There is one thing that’s left out. We had a long wooden pole that was used to push the clothelines up so that longer items (sheets/pants,etc.) didn’t brush the ground and get dirty. You have to be a “certain age” to appreciate this one, but you younger ones can read about “the good old days”


(If you don’t even know what clotheslines are, better skip this.)

1. Hang the socks by the toes, not the top.

2. Hang pants by the bottom/cuffs…..not the waistbands.

3. Wash the clotheslines before hanging any clothes by walking the

Entire length of each line with a damp cloth.

4. Hang the clothes in a certain order and always hang whites with

whites and hang them first.

5. Always hang a shirt by the tail never by the shoulders. What would

the neighbors think?

6. Wash day is always on Monday, and clothes must never be hung on the

weekend, or on Sunday, for Heaven’s sake!

7. Hang the sheets and towels on the outside lines to hide your

“unmentionables” in the middle (perverts and busy-bodies, y’know!)

8. If the weather is sub-zero….clothes would “freeze dry”.

9. Always gather clothes pins, when taking down dry clothes.

Pins left on the lines were “tacky”.

10. For efficiency, line the clothes up so that two items can share a

middle clothespin rather than using two clothespins for each item.

11. Clothes must be taken off of the line before dinner time, nearly

folded in the laundry basket and ready to be ironed.

12. Ironed? Well that’s a whole other subject!


And now a poem:

A clothesline was a news forecast,

to neighbors passing by.

There were no secrets

when clothes were hung to dry.

It was also a friendly link,

for neighbors always knew

if company had stopped by

to spend a night or two.

For then you’d see the “fancy sheets”

And towels upon the line.

You’d see the company tablecloths, with intricate designs.


The line announced a baby’s birth, from folks who lived inside,

as brand new infant clothes were hung so carefully with pride.

The ages of the children could so readily be known.

By watching how the sizes changed, you’d know how much they’d grown.

It also told when illness struck, as extra sheets were hung,

then night-clothes, and a bathrobe too, haphazardly were strung.

It also said, “on vacation now”, when lines hung limp and bare.

It told “we’re back,” when full lines sagged, with not an inch tospare.


New folks in town were scorned upon if wash was dingy and gray,

as neighbors carefully raised their brows and looked the other way.

But clotheslines now are of the past, for dryers make work much less,

Now what goes on inside a home is anybody’s guess.

I really miss that way of life, it was a friendly sign

when neighbors knew each other best…by what hung out on that line.


Thought for the day: Man is the only animal that blushes…..or needs to. Mark Twain

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