Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why I Love a Clothesline

I've been looking through my Momma's pictures again and found what I have named "The Clothesline Series".  Professional portraits are nice, but nothing illuminates real life like a snapshot.
Here in Appalachia, or at least in the Appalachia I remember as a little girl, we never said "I must go do my laundry." We said, "I'm a'goin' to warsh clothes." Somehow, a soft, slight "r" found its way in between the "a" and "s". I don't hear it so much now, since the Tennessee Appalachian twang is quickly disappearing. But, one day, back in July 1959, my Sweet Little Momma and My Beloved Mamaw got together to 'warsh' clothes.

They look so pretty! No one dresses like this anymore to do daily household chores. I wonder what they talked about? And what was the little dog's name? Do you see potholders, or are those little baby bonnets? Tiny undershirts? Towels? Diapers?

My Sweet Little Momma and Beloved MaMaw must have washed all morning to get the clothes on the line. Finally dry, Momma would fold, hang or iron the clothes, put them away and do it all again a few days later, if the weather cooperated. I remember the smell of those clean clothes; they smelled like summer to me.  Years later we got an electric dryer. Momma still used the clothesline, but she never had to depend on the weather to be clear and sunny and the electric dryer was used a lot during the long winter months.

I love this picture of my Sweet Little Momma. The wind is flapping the clothes and whispering against her skirt.  A bush is blooming in the left hand corner. Notice the clothesline pole?  I wonder what she was thinking while looking over her shoulder?  I wonder if someone was in the outhouse, peeping through the cracks?

Each load of clothes was hung on the line as soon as the washer stopped. By noon, the line was full and Momma always hoped for a steady afternoon breeze. Did you know a steady breeze will soften your clothes? If there's no breeze to flap them dry, they'll dry stiff as a plank!
Ahhh, this picture makes me smile! Three generations of Appalachian women at the clothesline!  Yep, that's me in the chair and my Beloved Mamaw standing behind me.

When Hub and I married married and settled into our first home, my Grandparents bought us a new washing machine and dryer.  I didn't see any sense in using the dryer on warm, sunny days, so Hub and I strung up a clothesline between two trees in the backyard and I used it for a few years. It finally broke, so I used my just-like-new electric dryer. Then the dryer stopped working after many years of use and I hung  our clothes out on the back porch for an entire summer. It may have inconvienced some people, but I didn't mind in the least. I'd wash clothes in the evenings and hang them on the porch rail before I left the following morning for work. They'd be nice and dry by the time I got home. Unless it rained.  Back to the washer they went, except for the towels. I figured the rainwater would only make them softer.

Finally, Hub and I purchased a new electric dryer, but I still wanted a clothesline. I guess my love of clotheslines began when I was a little girl and I've never gotten over it! We bought a fancy, twirly umbrella clothesline and Hub installed it in the backyard.   I used it for a long time (never convinced it was the real thing) until earlier this month. It toppled over, with a freshly washed blanket hanging from it.
Well, Hub, being a man of action, finally decided it was time for a Real Clothesline. Last week he went to the local hardware store and bought 4x4s, a bag of concrete, a new clothesline and all the hardware to build a genuine, heavy-duty clothesline!

It's a modern, tricked-out version of an old-fashioned clothesline.

 You won't see a clothesline pole, because Hub placed turnbuckles on the line. If I have a heavy blanket, all I have to do is adjust the turnbuckle. We had some lattice stored away from a long-ago porch and Hub used it on the end of each 4x4.

What happened to the store-bought umbrella type clothesline, you might ask? That's it on the far right hand side of the picture. It's found a second purpose as a bean trellis. It's always exciting when things can be repurposed!

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!"

An old stump comes in handy when you're hanging out clothes.

I sure do love my new clothesline!

And I want to thank Hub for not only making it functional, but pretty!
Every Saturday morning, when the skies are blue, I will hang out clothes on my new clothesline and sing every old gospel song I know. For a few minutes the world will be clean and fresh-smelling and for some reason less chaotic and troubled. Everybody needs some kind of therapy, and I reckon hanging out clothes must be mine.  

I hope you've enjoyed your visit to My Corner of Appalachia!