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…