Breezy Day


My paper crafting class has been keeping me ever so busy these days!  This is the project I designed and created for our first class in July.

It reminds me so much of my youth…  For most of my young life, we hung laundry out on rope lines in the yard to dry. When I was about ten years old, it became one of my chores in the summer months.  I had been pulling clothes off the line and stacking them in a basket for mother after school since I was six or seven but hanging them was a much bigger responsibility and heftier task.

With my mother, it had to be done just so…  no drooping lines or sloppily hung clothes on the line.  We had long wooden poles with a notch in the top to push the middle of the clothes line up if the weight of the wet laundry caused the line to droop.  The clothes pins had to be kept clean, as well, so they didn’t leave marks on the clean laundry.

We had a dryer by the time I was twelve or so but, as far as my mom was concerned, nothing could match the wonderful smell of clothes hung out in the sun to dry and, I suppose, my labor was cheaper than the cost of running the dryer!  So the dryer went unused most of the time when the weather was good.

(Years later, when I was a young married woman with a washer and a dryer close at hand, I hung out the sheets, towels and the diapers whenever possible in the warm weather so I could enjoy that wonderful, fresh smell of the newly changed linens on the bed or clean towels in the bathroom (or diapers on the baby’s bottom!)  The apple didn’t fall far from the tree, I suppose.)

BD (Before Dryer), on rainy days or cold winter days, we hung the laundry on lines in the basement.   In the winter, the old-fashioned furnace was chugging out heat and the clothes dried as quickly as they had out in the sun.

On days when it might rain,  Mother was alway calculating when to do the washing and hanging of the laundry so as to maximize the time on the line.  Sometimes, by the time I woke up on a Monday morning, the washing for a family of five (at the time) was almost done and most of it already on the line in hopes that the rain would hold off long enough for everything to dry.  Mom believed that the sunshine had magical properties for sanitizing everything and brightening the whites. There was none of the usual slow motion daydreaming for me while hanging out clothes on those days.

Can you believe I still wash the white things first and the dark things last?  Mother did that so that the “whites” were on the line the longest amount of time (so the sun would brighten them) and the “darks” the shortest (so they didn’t fade).

And, I said “Monday” because Monday was “Wash Day”.  Every house in the neighborhood had clothes hanging on lines in the backyards on Mondays unless it was raining all that day… or the lady of the house wasn’t much of a housekeeper (by the neighbor ladies’ standards)… or someone was seriously ill at that house and a visit was in order to see if help was needed!

If Mother miscalculated about the rain, it was a mad race to get everything off the lines outside before they were drenched.  It was “all hands on deck” for Mom and any capable children. My brother, Carl, would pull the clothes down off the line and clothes pins would go flying in all directions! I think he gave the clothes an extra hard snap to see how high and far the pins would go.  Mother tried to discourage this but we couldn’t help but laugh as the pins went every which way. I’m not sure anything was considered “disposable” in the 1950’s… Every pin had to be rescued by my brother when the rain stopped.  I think Carl considered it a fair price for the fun.

Several years ago, I was visiting Amish Country in Indiana and marveled at the fact that every house I saw had laundry hanging out…  it took me awhile but then I remembered… it was Monday!

I hope you have enjoyed my card and all the memories it evoked for me.  Could you share some of your memories of “Wash Day” when you were younger?   Do you know what “sprinkling the laundry” means?  Did your mom every keep laundry in the refrigerator?  Let me hear from you.

Blessings & Hugs ya’ll…

About Charlotte Zweigoron

Married, retired, never been so busy..! One of my most prized possessions is my very own craft room! And, actually, all the rest of our home is built around that craft room. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. I have been living in Georgia for over thirty-five years after a four year stint in Chicago. Crafting, reading and playing Mah Jongg with our circle of friends are my favorite activities right after spending time with my four grandchildren and four great-grandsons. Two of my three grown daughters and one of my two grandgirls live right across the yard from my husband and I. The youngest daughter, her husband, and our grandpups live in our same town. I have been teaching a paper crafting class for over three years and the ladies in the group have become a second family. We are well and truly blessed with people and critters to love..!
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6 Responses to Breezy Day

  1. Sharon says:

    My grandmother had a wringer washer and no dryer, so it was the clothes line outside or the basement. Mom had a dryer, but she so much preferred drying outside in the summer. Fond memories.

  2. ANN TILLER says:

    Boy, do you bring back memories.  Good ones.  Love you, love the card.Ann

  3. Dana Braun. says:

    Charlotte even if you could not create beautiful cards I would want to read your Nostalgic memories of the past. I read aloud your washday memories to Richard and the two of us just smiled sharing similar thoughts . I could identify with every aspect in your writings . Thank you for allowing such warm fuzzy thoughts to be pervasive at our evening meal . But of course I remember sprinkling clothes . We had a soft drink bottle with a plastic lid in which my father had poked small holes. And yes if mother could not get to the ironing on the day it was all sprinkled the clothes were rolled up meticulously and placed in the refrigerator until the next day . Yes Monday was wash day, Tuesday was ironing day, Friday of course was cleaning day . Our home ran on routine and in the springtime all of the window curtains and bedspreads were removed -either dry cleaned or washed as were the Venetian blinds and my father washed walls! One of the many beautiful things about this entire life style was that my parents shared all these tasks and showed teamwork in everything they did . As Bob Hope would sing /thanks for the memories !!!

  4. You are more than generous! In later years, with seven children in the house + my grandfather, EVERY day was laundry day and cleaning day. I almost never iron anymore but I feel like I’ve failed at housewifery if all the laundry isn’t done, folded and put away by Tuesday evening. It seemed like my Dad worked 24/7 so it was Mom & Me at the helm. Glad I could add to add to the ambiance of your evening together!

  5. PaperPuff says:

    This laundry tale is very familiar! I love the card you have made to accompany it.

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