Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Clothesline

It was a given that the clothesline-running from the pumphouse situated not far from the back porch of my grandparents' farmhouse to out and over the flat rocks strung underneath a pipe taking the water to the barn-was most always loaded down with laundry when the season allowed. Of course there were no automatic washers and dryers back then and with such a large family there was always laundry. It probably never was caught up. How could it have been with six girls and barn work to be done along with everything else in-between?

Laundry waving in the breeze provided great fun. My cousins and I could run back and forth underneath the sheets and pants and towels and house dresses and never get tired. If the sheets were hanging low enough they provided the perfect cover for hide 'n seek or from cars passing by or from adults wondering what we were doing. When there was no laundry hanging on the line the pipe leading to the barn offered us a daring opportunity. Even in the heat of the summer, the pipe was always cold as it transferred the well water from one place to another. It was attached to poles-just high enough so that we'd have to jump to grab hold. But we did it. And we did it often. Once we had a firm grip, which wasn't easy to do because of the moisture on the pipe, we tried shimmying our way with our hands as far as we could towards the barn. The further we went the higher the pipe was from the ground and the higher we'd be dangling by our fingertips. I don't ever remember making it all the way out there. I do remember my cousin with her unique ability to do some sort of a fancy back flip off the pipe and always land on her feet. She also had an amazing double-jointed finger!

Occasionally my mother hung laundry outside. When I can, I do the same although my clothesline doesn't go all the way to the barn nor is there a pipe above it. Even so, that fresh smell is as fresh as ever. My mother would iron all the sheets and towels and pants and shirts when she brought them back inside. Sometimes I had to do it. That's one thing I no longer do!


  1. There is nothing nicer than then smell of laundry dried outside. That is certainly a very long clothes line. Thank goodness for tumble driers these days!!

  2. Clothes hanging on the line reminds me of childhood. Helping to hand the clothes and take them off with speed when a storm was coming. I don't hang out my clothes now because my allergies are bad- but I do love the smell of fresh sheets. Great post!