I have to admit this is not mine, nor is the author identified. It is one
where the memory of clean, gently blown sheets with the brisk, stiff
texture makes this poem worthwhile. I hope it is evocative of olden
days when your mother or grandmother, (father or grandfather) put
clothes on a line, using wooden clothespins and maybe, the image
of those undulating sheets will give you a smile or two:
“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.
Clothes off of the line before dinner time,
Neatly folded in the clothes basket. . .
And ready to be ironed.
Well, that’s another whole other subject.”
My son and his wife, hang their summer laundry on a clothesline,
using the big plastic (non-rustable) clothespins. They also have
had clothing line disasters, since they have two big dogs, along
with my daughter in law’s Dad’s Great Dane. These dogs running
around have been known to create some havoc with old-fashioned,
but ecologically sound way of drying their laundry. There are only
a few things better smelling than clean, air- and wind-dried laundry.
The clothing, towels and sheets used to smell like sunshine!
Let me know of any memories this brought forth… thanks for