Wednesday, March 23, 2011


“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

Remember clotheslines?

Remember when you used to go visit your grandma and she was hanging clothes on the line? Remember how she hung everything, right down to her skivvies out there? Remember how she lived in town and didn’t have a privacy fence and no one cared if they saw her skivvies or not?

Ok, maybe that was just my grandma.

I consider a significant portion of my life affected by the clothesline. I didn’t have a dryer growing up. We either hung our clothes on the clothesline out under the ash tree or we hung them inside the house on hangers all over the place. In the winter, we always had the woodstove going and you could get a nice pair of dry stiff jeans in about an hour.

Just about the same time it takes in the dryer, really.

All except the waistband.

And I can’t tell you how many times we forgot to bring in the clothes off the line. I’d have to rush out to get a pair of jeans off the clothesline in the morning before school and sometimes they were quite damp with dew. I’d wear them anyway and they would dry for the most part by noon.

Yes, we lived in town. Yes, I hung my skivvies out there too. But I wised up after seeing grandma’s on display. I would hang a load of towels on the outside lines of our four-lined clothesline and hang my underpants in the middle so they couldn’t be seen. Genius, I know!

It worked every time unless the dog tore all the towels down. Something about hanging flapping fabrics that always seemed to mesmerize him.  He couldn't reach the underpants. 

Anyway, I moved out. Got a washer AND dryer. And swore I would never return to my old ways.

My first house was in a new subdivision and had restrictive covenants that “no exterior clotheslines shall be permitted.” I remember them well because I was on a mission.

You see, the man cattycorner behind me had no privacy fence and there was an empty lot beside me that we eventually would have liked to have seen a house built on. But, everyone who came to see the empty lot was also privy to seeing this man’s underpants flapping in the breeze on his clothesline. I copied the restrictive covenants, placing a few copies over several months in his mailbox with the clothesline area highlighted.

Just an FYI from a good neighbor, right?

I think I even called the developer. He said it was the city’s deal to enforce, but with all the wayward souls the local police department has to convert here everyday, they weren’t too interested in my clothesline mission. I’m not even sure they had a code enforcement officer.

Why even have restrictive covenants anyway if we leave it up to the good neighbors to enforce them?

Anyway, we eventually all put up privacy fences, like good neighbors do in a subdivision, and never spoke to each other again. A house was built 10 feet from my home and we decided it was time to move since the suburbs were closing in on us!

I think the clothesline man still lives there happily ever after.

So we move out here, which is more of a rural neighborhood, as we have “close” neighbors on varying acreages. No restrictive covenants out here. We can have animals, poop, kids, swing sets, and clotheslines if we want.

And the secret is…

I want a clothesline.

I’ve come full circle!

My blankets dry for free in the sun much faster than I can pay the electric dryer to do the job.

How do I know this since I don’t have a clothesline? Last year I began washing our blankets and hanging them out over my fence. I use my husband’s clamps to secure them and realized I really have to clamp them down to keep them from flapping if I don’t want the fence to tear them up. He balks at my using his “tools” for laundry, but I think I use them enough that they are considered mine now anyway.

And so today, if you drive by my house, you’ll see my bedroom blankets on display out on the fence. I would also like to issue this formal apology to all my neighbors in the event they believe my laundry to be offensive. I also promise to use a dryer for all our skivvy drying needs from here on out.

And I promise not to look if you want to hang yours out too!

1 comment:

  1. We have a clothesline too. I LOVE it. I use it most of the summer. I need to start again. I really plan on getting something to hang in the laundry room for the winter too once we get the bathroom project finished!!


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