What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"What's My Line?"

My cousin Barb Moss from Iowa wrote a wonderful poem and a "laundry list" about the rules for hanging out the laundry, based on her mother's example and washday memories from her childhood.  That stirred up similar memories from my childhood...and by the looks of her email responses, it did the same for many of the recipients of her message.  It was so well written, I asked her permission to reprint it here for you as well...so here goes:

Written by Barb Moss:

"Remembering Mom's Clothesline: There is one thing that's left out. We had a long wooden pole (clothes pole) that was used to push the clotheslines 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 ol' days"!!)" 

"I can hear my mother now.....

THE BASIC RULES FOR CLOTHESLINES:  (If you don't even know what clotheslines are, better skip this.) 
  1. You had to hang the socks by the toes... NOT the top. 
  2. You hung pants by the BOTTOM/cuffs... NOT the waistbands. 
  3. You had to WASH the clothesline(s) before hanging any clothes - walk the entire length of each line with a damp cloth around the lines. 
  4. You had to hang the clothes in a certain order, and always hang "whites" with "whites," and hang them first. 
  5. You NEVER hung a shirt by the shoulders - always by the tail! What would the neighbors think? 
  6. Wash day on a Monday! NEVER hang clothes on the weekend, or on Sunday, for Heaven's sake! 
  7. Hang the sheets and towels on the OUTSIDE lines so you could hide your "unmentionables" in the middle (perverts & busybodies, y'know!) 
  8. It didn't matter if it was sub-zero weather... clothes would "freeze-dry." 
  9. ALWAYS gather the clothes pins when taking down dry clothes! Pins left on the lines were "tacky"! 
  10. If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothes pins, but shared one of the clothes pins with  the next washed item. 
  11. Clothes off of the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes 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 you could keep,
When clothes were hung to dry. 
It also was a friendly link,
For neighbors always knew
  If company had stopped on 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 table cloths",
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 nightclothes, 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 to spare! 
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."

One reason this has struck such a cord with me is that we are in the process of.....you may have already guessed it...MOVING... and, we are moving further out into the country...actually, out into the forest...and one of the first things I noticed about our new home (it is actually an older home) is that it has a clothesline! It's a little saggy and rusty looking right now, but one of my first outdoor projects when we get settled is to string up new line on those poles and put it back into use!  I can't wait to hang my sheets out on  the line to dry and then fall into that wonderful fresh off the line linen fragranced bed that I so long for!  Ahhhh!!! I can almost smell it now...can't you?

Yes, the secret is out...we are moving to what I would call our "Camp in the Woods" house sometime very soon.  Right now we are in the process of making some needed "improvements" to make it more habitable for our family...and that process will continue on for a loooooooooong time...but it is going to be a fun project house...with nature all around...so you can look forward to hearing more about "the view from my new open window" in upcoming articles.  This is the "giant leap of faith" I've been alluding to...and a big part of my one word resolution of "HOPE" for 2012...so please continue to stay tuned as the adventure begins!

Oh, and why not go string out a clothesline in YOUR backyard today?  You would actually become a part of a very popular "green" movement that is taking storm across the nation...just google "clothes on a clothesline" and see what all pops up. I was amazed!  I'm joining a "green" movement...aren't you proud of me? 
Ahhhh...I can almost smell that fresh linen right now....


  1. I remember making tents to play in using the clothesline and blankets. Good luck with your move!

  2. Hey, I remember doing that too! Those were the "good old days", when we did lots of fun and silly stuff, like making "snowballs" with Tide detergent and a little water enough to give it some snowball consistency! Remember? And then, when we put sand in the corners of your mother's windowpanes to make it look like snow? Ah yes, the good old days, with my cousin Becky!!!
    Thanks for writing!

  3. What a lovely and nostalgic post and poem, loved it!

  4. Thank you, Susie! My cousin Barb did the writing, and I'll soon be doing the laundry and hanging it out...at least once in a while. I know my dryer will stay busy too...it isn't out of a job yet! LOL!
    (at least as long as I still have to go to work every day...but some day....)

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